In January, the Boys and Girls Club of Northern Westchester received a $22,000 grant and a three-year commitment of academic support from United Way's SmartStart program. The program is dedicated to encouraging at-risk children - from kindergarten through the fourth grade - to be committed to their academic studies.
In a combined effort to help children achieve academic success in the classroom, United Way and the Boys and Girls Club of Northern Westchester believe that the first few impressionable years of a child's education can be the difference between attending college or dropping out before graduation. Mount Kisco boasts a diverse community, in which 45 percent of the population is Hispanic American. The difficulties of language and cultural barriers or a lack of family support or involvement can easily hinder a child's progress in school. SmartStart focuses on keeping children on track with their studies, and offers afterschool bilingual tutoring, academic support, homework assistance, reading and discussion groups, and ESL support. The SmartStart program also provides parents with the skills necessary to stabilize their home environment, like financial management, computer skills, and ESL support.
Established in 1939, the Boys and Girls Club of Northern Westchester continues its original purpose of serving as a safe haven for "boys to get off the streets." The nonprofit organization is located in a 36,000-square foot facility in Mount Kisco, and features an eight-lane pool, child care center, gymnasium, game room, two computer labs, and an additional 1,600-foot teen center. The Boys and Girls Club of Northern Westchester has inspired and enabled many youths to become responsible, productive, and caring citizens.