During the last year, a new leadership team has taken over at the Northeast Frankford Boys & Girls Club. The results show in the newly painted walls and renovated spaces. More importantly, there is a subtle change in direction from when the Club primarily offered day care services to today as a haven for kids 6 to 18 emphasizing the core programs of the organization: Arts & Culture; Character & Leadership; Education & Career Development; Health & Life Skills and Sports, Recreational & Fitness.
Since 1938 the club has occupied the former William W. Axe School building at 1709 Kinsey Street. The 110 year old building is on the National Register of Historic places. As with any building of its age, its needs constant repair and upkeep and the Boys and Girls Clubs have not been financially able to provide that support.
Late in 2012 the Concerned Citizens for a Better Frankford got involved in the club. Many of their members were former Club members and did not like seeing the deterioration of the building and lack of programs.
Earlier this year, Clarence Miller returned to the Club as Unit Director and began to shake things up. He reconstituted the Advisory Council with Reverend Dr. George F. Taylor a 37 year veteran of the Boys and Girls Club as chair.
Nashid Edwards, Chief Operating Office for Concerned Citizens for a Better Frankford, and other former club members hold seats on the council. The plan is to make up for lost time and refurbish the Club building. Two successful fund raisers have been held and It was through those efforts that the improvements to the building have been made. There is still a lot to be done and the council will be laying out a strategic plan for next year’s activities.
While the Advisory Council is completely formed, help is still needed to participate in various subcommittees. Those are groups formed to take on particular tasks like painting, fundraising etc.
Denise Matza is a Unit Director along with Clarence Miller. Matza focusses primarily on programming for the kids. She has only been on board in Frankford for a few months but has quickly grown to love the Club. The Club philosophy comes through Matza very clearly “The main thing we provide is relationship building. The Boys and Girls Clubs believe that building relationships is the first foundation before you teach them anything”.
With that foundation, the club offers after school care (accepts CCIS clients) from 2 to 6PM and teen programming from 7 to 9PM. With the demise of three other locations that served the youth of our community (PAL, Salvation Army and Frankford Y) these programs are more needed than at any other time.
In addition, a formal literacy program is in place within the after school program under the direction of Chris Gale. Each participant is assessed three times a year. They utilize the DIBELS assessments and report card grades to track the members’ progress. The kids learn while having fun and the program does suggest that is has helped participants improve school performance.
There is a Tiny Tots instructional basketball program on Saturdays. During the week the club offers teens “passport to manhood” and “smart girls”. Other community organizations have begun to come to the Club to use the facilities for youth oriented programs. Northeast EPIC Stakeholders has one ongoing at this time.
The Club will be cooperating with EPIC and the Frankford CDC in a coat drive in November. A toy drive for club members is also on the calendar for December. They will also be on hand for the great Frankford Christmas Tree lighting ceremony at Holiday Thriftway on December 5th.
For more information about the programs at the Northeast Frankford Boys and Girls Club, you may call Denise Matza at 215.743.7515