COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Boys & Girls Club of Central Ohio recently received a $500,000 grant from the city of Columbus to expand programming aimed at teens.
The funds will be used toward the organization’s teen initiatives that address concerns such as youth violence in Central Ohio, mental health issues, career development and learning loss.
Doug Wolf, the CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Ohio, said he is focused on implementing evidence-based programming that sets Central Ohio youth on the path to success.
“We are committed to helping our kids reach their full potential and are extremely grateful to the city of Columbus for choosing to invest in our local teens when they need it most,” Wolf said in a written statement. “Our young people are our community’s most valuable asset and it takes a community-wide approach to address today’s challenges of youth violence, mental health concerns, learning loss and more. This investment allows us (to) expand upon our career development efforts, implement key corporate partnerships, and better support their emotional wellbeing. It will even allow us the opportunity to intervene early for teens who may be at risk of coming into contact with the juvenile court system and surround them with a caring support system.”
The $500,000 from the city is a part of the American Rescue Plan (ARP) initial allocation of $93 million in federal funding received by Columbus.
“Columbus is in a defining moment as we slowly return to normal, and our youth need our support now more than ever,” said Council President Shannon G. Hardin in a press release.
Officials said the Boys & Girls Club of Central Ohio is forging partnerships with Cameron Mitchell Restaurants, Worthington Industries, Donatos Pizza and other companies.
The clubs are also in conversations with the city of Columbus and the Franklin County Domestic and Juvenile Court to incorporate quality programs into prevention and intervention services for young people at risk of contact with the justice system.
“This type of collaboration has played a pivotal role in other states, such as Colorado and California, in getting kids on the right track,” said Rebecca Kerr, a spokeswoman for the Boys & Girls Club of Central Ohio.
Kerr said the funding for the city was “badly needed and long-overdue to create a community-wide early intervention plan to support our youth when they need it most.”