Finding Strategic Stability

Organization Information:

Organization Name:
Boys & Girls Clubs of Buffalo
City & State:
New York
Organization Website:
Organization's Mission Statement

The Mission of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Buffalo is to provide appropriate and diversified programs and activities that serve to attract and hold area youth to the Clubs. We provide environments that teach children the tools needed to build positive lives, attitudes, and behaviors. Our youth development strategy is to design all programs and activities in a way that maximizes opportunities for young people to acquire for themselves a sense of competence, usefulness, belonging, and power/influence that will help them build self-esteem and grow into responsible and caring citizens.

Submission Information

Impact Essay

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Buffalo has utilized Microsoft technologies to effectively manage the growth we experienced throughout the last decade. Over the last eleven (11) years, we have made tremendous strides in the area of programming and we are very proud of our accomplishments. During this time, we have remodeled and modernized our Clubhouses, developed strong partnerships, developed our strategic plan with a focus on education, career development and developed a comprehensive plan for providing services to our youth and families. Although we grew in numbers, our growth in technology did not have the same pace. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Buffalo services a population with a growing need. Recently declared the third poorest city in the 10th poorest state, Buffalo’s children face a growing amount of barriers to becoming successful, educated adults. A full third (33%) of Buffalo’s children (ages 0-18) live in poverty. That is about twice the national rate (17%) and more than half again the New York State rate (20%). Using a national poverty line of $20,600 for a family of four, nearly a quarter (23.6%) of Buffalo families lives at or below the poverty level. One (of many) factors contributing to this is the prevalence of single-mother families in the city, with just over half (50.4%) of all Buffalo families having no husband present, according to the 2000 U.S. Census. We responded to this growing need by increasing the number of Clubhouses within the City of Buffalo and its surrounding suburbs. However our lack of technology was impacting the quality of programs, data collection and management, and communication. Not being able to electronically record attendance in the Club and programs held us back from providing quantitative statistics to funders therefore limiting our ability to raise funds. We were unable to appropriately assess and track the educational level of our youth which inhibited us from designing a program schedule to focus on areas of need. Communication between Clubs and administration was behind by one day which impacted the sharing of valuable resources and guidance. We have recently found stability in both areas of growth. By updating our Microsoft Windows server standard license, Microsoft Windows Terminal Service CAL License, and XenApp software we have been able to increase communication, data entry and management, and enhance our evaluations. These three have had major impact on our service delivery. We have been able to effectively share real-time data through our new Member Tracking System. We are now able to track your members, their attendance and activity participation, charges and payments, medical needs and more. The Member Tracking System also tracks our staff and volunteer hours, certifications information and print time cards. There are over 90 reports including customizable membership lists, weekly and monthly attendance reports, activity reports and group reports. This new tracking system has increased our ability to report to funders in a timelier, more effective manner. One source of funding we have been able to obtain due to these reports is for meal reimbursement. Member tracking software enables staff to track the demographics of those who participate in Club activities. This data shows that of our 8,500 members, approximately 85% live in economic poverty. More than 73% of Buffalo Club members live in single-parent households, and approximately 87% of youth served at each Clubhouse are considered youth at-risk of academic failure, involvement in substance abuse, delinquency, or early sexual experimentation. As of September 8th, 2008 we began preparing and delivering meals to 6 of our Clubhouses. During the month of October, we have been able to refine our systems and procedures to expand to another 3 locations. Currently we are delivering over 3,000 snacks and dinners a week. We expanded to the remainder of our locations in January, 2009 allowing us to deliver over 4,500 snacks and meals. Because of our newly expanded meal program, we have seen an increase in our membership. Current members are able to stay in the Clubhouses longer and are receiving more programming that will positively impact them educationally and socially. The kitchen has also allowed us to impact our member’s families. We have been able to prepare meals for some of our neediest families to take home each night.

We have also designed Bridging the Gap, an education program package designed around nationally developed and tested programs, We tailor the programs we provide according to individual needs. For programs in reading and math, we assign youth to a tutoring group based on their academic needs. Each youth is given an assessment to further determine strengths in ELA and math. After a pre-test, a certified teacher assigned to the Club will be responsible for completing an individualized academic plan. Quarterly reports are completed after every 23 hours of instruction, noting the child’s progress in the program. At the end of 96 hours, the child is retested, and progress is shared with the teacher and parent/guardian.

We conducted Bridging the Gap project at one site during the second half of the 2007-2008 school year. The goals were: to see 80% of all participants raise their ELA and math grades by one letter grade, and 80% of all participants to have increased school attendance by the end of 30 weeks. In fact, we had the following performance results: 72% of all participants increased their grade by at least one letter grade in ELA; 69% of all participants increased their grade by at least one letter grade in math; and 74% of participants increased their school attendance.

Overall, the three Microsoft technologies we implemented led to over 8,500 youth being able to receive a hot nutritious meal every day at no cost to them and gain the ability to receive fun, engaging, educational activities that are tailored to their specific needs and interests.

Submission Category
Stable and Secure Technology
Project Image
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