Boys and Girls Club develops programs for Farmersville youth

(Reggie Ellis)

A presentation to Farmersville City Council from the Boys and Girls Club’s displays the club’s plan to reach the children of Farmersville and address their needs

FARMERSVILLE – The Boys and Girls Club focuses its Farmersville efforts on helping young people navigate a post-pandemic world.

On Monday, Aug. 14, The Boys and Girls Club presented their goals for the upcoming years to Farmersville City Council, as well as recapping some of the work they have done so far. The presentation focused on the needs of the Farmersville youth who were greatly impacted by the pandemic in 2020 and how to best serve their needs.

Programs that were highlighted as part of their effort include socio-emotional programs, a new basketball league and the youth “power hour.”

“Every program we run starts off with some activities that allow kids an opportunity to express how they’re feeling,” Galen Quenzer, executive director at Boys and Girls Clubs of the Sequoias said in an interview with The Sun-Gazette.

One of the main issues that has been observed from young people in recent years, according to Quenzer, is the emotional impact the pandemic had on the youth. The Boys and Girls Club plans to counteract this in Farmersville with new socio-emotional programs that will give young people more opportunities to express themselves.

“A lot of our goals have to do with recovering from COVID,” Quenzer said. “COVID exacerbated a lot of mental health issues; and if not mental health issues, then there’s at least emotional, social difficulties that kids are having.”

Quenzer explained that some of the programs allow kids to talk about their feelings directly while some allow for self-expression through creativities, like arts and crafts. Some of the socio-emotional programs are focused on interpersonal and social connection as well as community programs.

Overall the goals of these programs are to build confidence, provide a place to express emotions and foster positive interactions with peers.

“The program is really to help kids make good decisions and exhibit positive behaviors that will, in turn, help them feel better about themselves and each other,” Quenzer said.

Another goal the organization highlighted this year was to attract kids between the ages of 11 to 18 since they generally have fewer school-funded programs to attend. This is why the Boys and Girls Club is starting a new basketball league in Farmersville to provide teens and tweens with more after-school activities.

“We’re seeing that there’s a need to increase the number of teens and pre-teens,” Quenzer said. “We’re going to put more emphasis on providing programming for 11 to 18 year olds.”

The power hour is an ongoing program offered by the Boys and Girls Club, which is highlighted as beneficial to the needs of the youth because it continues to foster excitement and curiosity around learning. It also provides academic help to kids who might need it.

The program works with a number of different organizations including Little Free Libraries, Business Reading Corners, Backpack and Book Giveaway, Lobbied for Community, Sports Reading Corners and more, to provide kids with fun and interactive ways to spark interest in learning.

“Everything we do is interactive; they’re learning without really understanding that they’re learning, and they’re developing this sense of wonder,” Quenzer said.

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