WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — More opportunities to change the lives of local students. This month, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County opened three new locations right on public school campuses.
SPECIAL COVERAGE: Education
When the school day is over at Conniston Middle School in West Palm Beach, that doesn't mean the learning stops.
Nearly 80 students are now participating in the new Boys & Girls Clubs after-school program, without leaving their campus.
"This program is bringing in things we don’t always get during the normal school day," principal James Thomas said. "We definitely don’t always get during aftercare."
Thomas is grateful to now have this offered at his school, enriching the lives of students with new resources and opportunities.
"We have to be purposeful about what our students are doing after school, both as parents and as educators," Thomas said.
The first stop is the cafeteria for a meal and snacks so students can learn on full stomachs. Then it's homework help and project-based learning activities.
"In this case, we first target areas of poverty. So pockets within Palm Beach County with a high propensity for economically disadvantaged neighborhoods," said Jaene Miranda, the CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County.
Miranda said the new club locations follow the organization's motto of going where they're needed most. The schools were chosen strategically and designed to help students who may be struggling.
"We have, as parents, a lot of hopes and dreams for our children. But sometimes we don't have the capacity to get them there," Miranda said.
Certified teachers are there to help students catch up on classwork. But more than anything, Miranda said it gives them a safe place to thrive.
"Those after-school hours are extremely critical for our kids," Miranda said. "It takes someone to take an interest in you and to really want you to reach for the stars and get everything you want in life."
Conniston Middle School is just one of the new Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach locations. The other two are at Jupiter Elementary School and Pahokee Middle-High School.
The new club locations, which were possible thanks to a grant from the Florida Department of Education, also include a full-day summer program. The cost is $30 per year to participate. Contact your child's school if you are interested in signing up.