2017-2018 Success Stories

Jesse Draper Boys & Girls Club

Physical activity this year at Draper Boys & Girls Club was increased with the help of the game lockers and motivated staff. No matter where youth were in the club this year, physical activity opportunities such as basketball, soccer, football, and more were readily available.

This year, youth health advocates helped to prepare and administer club-wide taste tests with ease. The majority of the youth who participated in conducting the taste tests also participated in the Cooking Matters series at Draper. Youth were excited to share the information obtained in the class with their families. One youth said, “I’m going to talk to my mom about eating healthier at home. I think it’ll be much better for her health.” Participating in these programs seemed to have a positive effect on their self-esteem and confidence around making healthy choices. Another youth explained how the Cooking Matters class has helped her family in maintaining the father’s Type II Diabetes.

Draper also hosted a couple of parent meetings that brought parents together. At one of the parent meetings, parents were served a fruit smoothie that contained strawberries, bananas, kale, yogurt, and orange juice. After sampling, they gave their opinions about what they tasted. One parent said, “I never thought I would’ve liked it because me and my children don’t like vegetables. I think I will make this during the weekend.”

Samuel L. Jones

Samuel L. Jones Boys & Girls Club rocked this year! The club made many positive strides in ensuring that its youth were not only exposed to healthy eating and physical activity, but also took charge of it. From club wide taste tests to garden maintenance and more, the youths at Jones were always excited and enthusiastic to promote healthy habits at their club.

Youth advocates helped lead taste tests and conduct cooking classes. At the teen center, the youth take control of cooking healthy dishes and love to share with the staff. The youth display their interest in joining Cooking Club so much that there can sometimes be a wait list for joining next session.

Infused water demonstrations at Jones were a hit. At these events, youths experienced and tasted different infused water recipes using water bottles supplied to their club by HealthMPowers, Inc. One youth said,” I would definitely drink this on a hot day after I’m sweaty.” During Garden club, the youths learned how to properly harvest carrots. Once they harvested, they tasted the carrots. As she began to notice the difference between freshly grown carrots and store bought carrots, a young lady said, “Ours taste more fresh.” Great job empowering healthy habits this year, Jones Club!

A. Worley Brown Boys & Girls Club

A Worley Brown (AWB) had a great year with cooking, gardening, and staying physically active. With the help of staff, parents, and community partners, AWB exposed its youth to more fruits, vegetables, water consumption, and physical activity. A corporate sponsor, Comcast, brought volunteers to help beautify the garden space. They also planted a variety of vegetables in the garden for the youth. This led to opportunities for club youth to sample recipes using harvested produce such as their salsa taste test during the summer. Youth harvested peppers and tomatoes and included them in their salsa recipe.

The Cooking Matters program was a success. Each week, youth were challenged to learn about food groups, reading nutrition labels, and how to cook healthy meals. After making a white bean dip during one class, a class participant said, “Wow, I didn’t even think it was going to taste like that. I thought it would be gross because I don’t like beans.”  At the end of the six week class, youth were able to showcase the lessons they learned during the Cooking Matters class to their families and engaged in making a mango salsa with them. One particular parent enjoyed the event so much she stated, “I need to cook more with my kids. This was fun!”

James T. Anderson Boys & Girls Club

This year, at Anderson Boys & Girls Club, physical activity was increased by incorporating an active warm-up in all program areas. This led to the creation of Walking Club for middle school girls. Walking Club got youth moving that typically would not want to participate in physical activity. Leaders emerged from the development of this club and it created an overall better outlook on fitness.

Cooking Matters was successfully implemented at Anderson with the help of their HealthMPowers Health Educator. More than 30 youth received a 6-week training that taught best kitchen practices, knife safety, the importance of nutrition labels and much more. These hands-on skills reached more than just the participants – many of the youth replicated the recipes and skills at home.

In addition to this, Fiskars donated and installed two brand new garden beds for the youth to grow fresh produce. The youth have used the beds to grow vegetables and herbs such as basil to create a delicious infused drink to serve to parents.  We can’t wait to see what Anderson does this year to continue empowering healthy habits!

At-Promise Boys & Girls Club

At-Promise Boys & Girls Club had a successful year empowering healthy habits at their club. Youth participated in a healthy cooking program where they learned healthy ways to cook delicious and easy meals. They experimented in the kitchen with things like zucchini and fruit muffins and spent much of their summer perfecting their “Off the Vine” salsa. The salsa was so amazing that it won the People’s Choice Award at BGCMA’s Salsa Salsa competition! Thanks to Ms. Rosario and participating youth, they were able to utilize some of the produce from the club garden for their salsa. They also grew carrots, squash, and more!

Physical activity also increased this past year at the club. They incorporated alternating ice breakers each day to begin their programming and work as a club to brainstorm ideas for new activities. This helped to get youth moving 5-7 minutes before each program began. They also utilized the HealthMPowers game lockers which provided opportunities to get active in all programming areas. We can’t wait to see these healthy eating and physical activity changes continue to play out at the club!

AR “Gus” Barksdale Boys & Girls Club

Barksdale Boys & Girls Club in Conyers, Ga. made lots of positive efforts in health and wellness this year.  The club was extremely successful in maintaining their vegetable garden, incorporating physical activity into all program spaces, and implementing youth led taste tests all throughout the year. In the vegetable garden, chocolate mint, lemon thyme, oregano, and basil flourished. Club youth had the chance to learn about different herbs in the garden and experiment with their different uses by incorporating them into recipes. For their Salsa Salsa recipe, for example, Barksdale’s unique salsa recipe featured Thyme and Mint which was grown and harvested from their garden. The youth who participated in this competition were a part of the garden club and were extremely hands-on with garden maintenance such as planting, harvesting, and more.

In addition to this, Barksdale hosted successful parent engagements where a Health Educator from HealthMPowers, Inc. taught lessons on smart snacking, importance of drinking water, and encouraging parents to get physically active with their youth! The parents have expressed interest in a series of meetings where they can learn more. From staff led Cooking Matters classes to Youth led taste tests, the Barksdale club is all-in and continues to make strides in becoming one of the healthiest clubs in America.

Carroll County Boys & Girls Club

Carroll County Boys & Girls Club reached new heights this year in the physical activity area at their club. There were several exciting additions to their PA curriculum this year, including soccer, dodgeball and even double-dutch! There was outdoor, unstructured playing time every day allowing the youth to get moving and make their own empowered decisions. Steal the Bacon was a fun new fast paced and high energy game that club youth enjoyed.

Triple Play, the comprehensive health and wellness program, focused on engaging club youth’s minds, bodies and souls. This health initiative through Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta focuses on smart eating (mind), a variety of non-traditional physical activity (body), and fostering positive relationships (soul). This program was successful because of staff implementation, HealthMPowers’ resources, club youth involvement and parent engagement during family nights.

In addition to all the physical activity, the Carroll County club came up with innovative ideas to grow produce at their club. They’ve transformed their limited growing space into two garden beds so that youth could see their produce grow. The food harvested from the garden was included in their special recipe at the annual BGCMA Salsa Salsa competition! We can’t wait to continue our partnership with Carroll and take healthy eating and physical activity to a new level.

Chamblee Boys & Girls Club

Chamblee Boys & Girls Club had a busy year working to create a healthier environment for youth to learn and play. There was incorporation of physical activity into all programs and an addition of a new structured activity, street hockey! Girls had the opportunity to participate in Girls on the Run or basketball which both saw high attendance numbers. The club-wide physical activity improvements were well received and enjoyed by all club youths.

With the addition of a new club garden, a master gardener volunteer from the community came to work with the club youth. She assisted the youth in maintaining their club garden. Youth gained a sense of ownership of their club garden because of her help. As the 2017 champions of Salsa Salsa, Fox 5 News interviewed club youths about their 2018 “Grilled Peach and Tomato Salsa” recipe, which featured peaches grown in their club’s courtyard!

Family Night Bootcamps were a big success for Chamblee this year, serving as an opportunity for parents to stay informed and engaged with the healthy eating and physical activity curriculum being offered at the club. “More Water Mondays” was a fun initiative to encourage water intake. They closed off vending machines on Mondays to motivate both staff and club youths to drink more water!

Center for a New Generation

The Center for a New Generation (CNG) Boys & Girls Club had a great year empowering healthy habits among their youth. By implementing a physical activity the first 5-7 minutes of programming, youth increased their energy levels and moved their bodies more. They had a weekly physical activity that was organized by the staff that everyone enjoyed participating in. In spaces where they weren’t able to play large group games, CNG utilized their game lockers to optimize physical activity for all spaces.

The club has increased their water intake due to additional resources they received. Parents enjoyed mint and lemon infused water from their new water dispensers during parent engagements. Youth started the new school year with fresh water bottles that encouraged them to EAT, DRINK, MOVE throughout their time at the club. We can’t wait to see what else this club does to empower healthy habits!

Douglas County Boys & Girls Club

This past year Douglas County Boys & Girls Club proved to increase the health and wellness with youth, parents and even the community! Staff members took initiative to establish a healthy cooking program which had high attendance numbers and consistent positive feedback throughout the year. They even added new smoothie recipes to the curriculum which were a huge success with club youth! Youth were even able to harvest fresh vegetables from their garden to use in the annual BGCMA Salsa Salsa competition. Furthermore, a Keystone community service event was organized where youth gave out over 1800 lbs of fruits, vegetables, and water to the community.

There was an array of physical activities including dance that appealed to girls and had them excited about getting up and moving!  On Thursdays, a trainer was invited to workout one-on-one with youth. Power Up for 30 activities were mostly youth led and an implementation of physical activity in all program areas kept the youth energized and involved.

To prepare college bound club youth for their financial future, youth were invited to a Financial HUB event. Parents were exposed to healthy alternative beverages during “Rethink Your Drink” talks and they were able to sample fresh orange and blueberry infused water! This has been a successful year of wellness at Douglas County Boys & Girls Club!

East Dekalb Boys & Girls Club

The effort that East Dekalb Boys & Girls Club made towards getting youth physically active this year paid off tremendously. They noticed that girls were less likely to get physically active in the presence of the boys. To solve this, they scheduled girls and boys days in the gym. This allowed for girls to play games and get physically active together, which increased the number of girls who participated in physical activity at the club. This schedule change produced the same result with youth who are boys. This method of scheduling physical activity became so successful that other clubs began to model after it and have seen improvements in physical activity as well.

East Dekalb found a unique way to introduce the youth to fruits, vegetables, and gardening through the use of a tower garden. This year, a representative came and hosted a training for several youth on how to use and maintain the tower garden. One kid said, “Wow, I would love to learn how I can grow vegetables on that machine!” The club plans to assemble the tower garden to place at the front entrance to demonstrate and expose youth and their families to growing fresh fruits and vegetables. From the tower garden to physical activity, staff-led cooking classes, and more, East Dekalb did a great job in exposing their youth to different ways that they can live a healthy life!

Michael A. Grant Boys & Girls Club

Grant Boys and Girls club have had many successes this year! One success included engaging parents in learning about health and wellness. During parent engagement night’s parents have had the opportunity to prepare a turkey chili and vegetable chili in a hands-on class, while also learning and preparing an infused lemon and basil beverage!

In addition to this, the garden at Grant Boys and Girls club was in full bloom this summer.  The youth involved in garden club grew and harvested a variety of vegetables including plump red tomatoes, jalapeño peppers, bell peppers, squash and okra just to name a few. Many of these vegetables were incorporated into their special recipe that was created by youth for the annual BGCMA Salsa Salsa competition.  In efforts to engage the community, Grant BGC has local farmers market set up in the parking lot!

To promote physical activity amongst youth, team sports challenges were completed. They also utilized different sports like kick ball and baseball to increase physical activity.  Pedometers were used to create a challenge throughout the club.  To increase water consumption, the water dispenser was utilized daily and was a success amongst parents who love it.  In partnership with HealthMPowers staff, Grant has seen many improvements to health and wellness at their club!

Lawrenceville Boys & Girls Club

This year, Lawrenceville Boys & Girls Club  made great improvements in their programming to create an environment where youth can be physically active and make healthy eating choices. Youth enjoyed a variety of fun activities, including Jump the River and Double Dutch! During gym time, staff created a 2 lap requirement for youth to ensure they were getting their physical activity in the program space. Parents even got involved with physical activity during line dancing parent nights that were a huge success. The addition of a new soccer field opened up more opportunities for youth to participate in outdoor activities.

This year, with the help of youth and staff, the Lawrenceville garden flourished! They produced a bountiful harvest of tomatoes, mint, and more. Cooking club was also launched this year and turned out to be a very successful program. The club participated in the BGCMA Salsa Salsa competition, and even used homemade tortilla chips. We’re looking forward to continuing healthy eating habits and increasing physical activity at the Lawrenceville club this year!

Louise Radloff Boys & Girls Club

The Louise Radloff Boys & Girls Club made great progress in the area of physical activity this year. The club noticed a need for more physical activity for girls and rose to the occasion. From February to May 2018, 13 girls from various age ranges and sizes participated in “Girls on the Run.” This allowed them to express themselves through physical activity and relationship building with one another. It was amazing to see how this club gave some girls a boost of confidence and empowered them to remain physically active. In addition to this, 100% of club youth participated in Field Days hosted by Nike employees twice a month at the club. The indoor gym and outside field were used effectively to promote physical activity!

The HealthMPowers Game Locker was a great resource that the Radloff Boys & Girls Club took advantage of. Because of their limited program space and small rooms, the Game Locker propelled physical activity efforts in youth and showed them that movement can be incorporated any time, any place, and any space! Not only were the Game Lockers a Success, but Parent Engagements were interactive and effective. A HealthMPowers Health Educator conducted a “Rethink Your Drink” session for the parents. It encouraged parents to decrease consumption of sugary beverages and to increase water consumption. During the session, one parent said, “I knew it had a lot of sugar, but I didn’t know it had THAT much. Wow.” It was a great year at Radloff.

M. Agnes Jones

In the first year of M. Agnes Jones’ partnership with HealthMPowers, the club implemented several measures that helped to foster a healthier environment. Physical activity was promoted by adding kickball and relay races to their programming. They added physical activity to all program areas while also increasing structured physical activity time within the club. They provided a space where girls could get more involved in physical activity with a “Girls on the Run” program and “Super League”!

Throughout the year there were multiple additions to improve eating habits within the club. There were several parent engagements where youth provided a variety of taste tests for their parents, including smoothies and salsa. Youth also participated in their own healthy cooking programs! With the help of HealthMPowers, M. Agnes Jones was able to reinvigorate their garden. Club youth were eager to get involved and enjoyed observing the plant growth throughout changing seasons. We can’t wait to see what M. Agnes Jones does this year to empower healthy habits within their club!

A.W. Tony Matthews Boys & Girls Club

Mathews Boys & Girls Clubs had another great year with many exciting additions to their curriculum. The Teen Cooking Program gave teens a chance to learn more about healthy eating with hands-on practice. They successfully reinvigorated their garden, involving the club youth in weekly maintenance and upkeep of their crops.  Youth harvested red beefsteak tomatoes, fresh green pepper, cucumbers and much more. Some of these vegetables were even incorporated into their recipe for the annual BGCMA Salsa Salsa competition!

This year structured physical activity involvement at Matthews skyrocketed due to the incorporation of several new games. Club youth engaged in programs like running and stretching. Girls were given opportunities to participate through soccer, double-dutch and even ultimate frisbee! Physical activity was incorporated into all program areas and Power Up for 30 was implemented at Mathews through unstructured outside time and running laps. Parents even increased their steps and got moving during their weekly line dancing class. This has been a successful year of wellness at Matthews Boys and Girls Club and we can’t wait to see what we do next with our partnership!

Marlon D. Mimms Boys & Girls Club

This year physical activity was increased at Mimms Boys & Girls Club in many ways. One of the youth at the club was selected to play in this year’s soccer jamboree and credits her fitness ability to the increased intense physical activity being offered in the gym at the club. Mimms developed a program that involved running intervals and increased high intensity fitness. The youth said “I improved in soccer because I got to go to the gym every single day”.

A girls’ softball team started this year initially with only 14 girls but quickly doubling to over 30 girls by the start of the first game. Gymnastics and soccer were offered as program options for youth. Every week programming space was provided for girls ages 10 and up to engage in physical activity.  A hopscotch challenge among parents and youth encouraged fitness and fun during pick up times. As a result there has been an overall increase in physical activity throughout the club.

Mimms’ added another fun promotion to their club during this past year, Infused Water Fridays. Staff added fun, natural flavors and tried different things weekly, keeping the youth and parents excited and hydrated. Youth enjoyed the Cooking Matters series at their club, in which youth received lessons in everything from shopping on a budget to knife handling skills. Youth prepared a homemade granola and yogurt parfait for the entire club to try. Staff and the youth at the club have been maintaining their garden and they have even created a partnership with the local farmer’s market that recently visited the club to present useful information to youth. Great job empowering healthy habits this year, Mimms!

Paulding County Boys & Girls Club

This year at Paulding County Boys & Girls Club physical activity skyrocketed with the help of game lockers and pedometer usage. All members participated in fifteen minutes of exercise before each program began. Paulding reached an important milestone this year with incorporating more physical activity opportunities for middle school girls. This club implemented a FIT (Fabulous and Training) program for girls, where they were able to engage in track activities and yoga.

Parent engagements at Paulding increased this year as well with weekly infused water taste-testing. Youth prepared a Cooking Matters recipe and then executed a taste test for their peers and parents. Youth prepared Turkey Chili with Vegetables, a Peanut Butter and Banana pocket, orange oatmeal Pancakes and much more.  A constant display of flyers and information on the parent table and meeting board promoting local farmers markets, food banks, and neighborhood stores kept parents in the loop about local food happenings.

One of the biggest achievements for Paulding this year was the implementation of their garden.  With the help of HealthMPowers, they replenished their garden beds, added fences and benches where youth, staff and parents can sit and enjoy. In addition, club youth harvested giant cucumbers, crisp green bell peppers, beefsteak tomatoes and lots of fresh herbs. The fresh produce led them to receive 2nd place in the annual BGCMA Salsa Salsa competition! These youth are excited to continue learning and improving their garden.

Warren Boys & Girls Club

Warren Boys & Girls club achieved many of their healthy eating and physical activity goals for the year. They implemented game lockers in program areas outside of the gym to increase overall physical activity among club youth. Staff has reached and engaged a larger amount of youth in physical activity due to expansion of utilizing non-traditional games and activities. The EAT, DRINK, MOVE hanging banners in the gym empowered youth to make healthy eating decisions and to get up and move. Though Warren has worked to engage kids outside of the gym, activities and excitement in the gym did not fade! The overall consensus is that youth throughout the club are excited to be physically active.

The soccer team enjoyed being a part of a Cooking Matters series. They cooked several delicious and healthy foods like baked mozzarella sticks, radish bruschetta and black bean veggie quesadillas. This year they also conducted several successful youth-led taste tests. Although some club youth were initially wary of the recipes, the majority of youth and staff enjoyed the tests! We’re looking forward to trying more foods with the youth at Warren and exploring new ways to be physically active.

Joseph B. Whitehead Boys & Girls Club

Over the past year, Joseph B. Whitehead Boys & Girls Club has seen several health improvements to their program. They introduced Teens vs. Food where the teens engaged in a cooking competition as well as a visit to a local farmer’s market. The club also incorporated healthy food demonstrations with youth-lead taste testing. The Whitehead garden is thriving and abundant thanks to the continued support from the staff and club youth.

Physical activity was another notable improvement at Whitehead Boys & Girls Club this year. The addition of Four Square in the teen room gave youth an opportunity to engage in physical activity throughout the day. A huge success for Whitehead BGC this year was an implementation of an all-girls Double Dutch team. The girls worked hard throughout the summer to not only learn how to double dutch and created a routine they performed at the annual Girls Fitness Day for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta.  In addition to Double Dutch and Four Square, there were also regular outdoor dance-offs for the youth to participate in. A fun way to improve and promote physical activity!

Awareness of local farmers markets and grocery shopping on a budget was supplemented by parent handouts and a group field trip to the farmers markets. On the field trip, youth and staff discussed ways that they can eat healthy on a budget. Club youth also learned how to interpret nutrition labels to make educated and healthy food choices. There was also a harvest of purple potatoes this summer that the youth used for a club-wide taste testing of roasted purple potato chips. This was a huge success and the kids were excited to see their hard work in the garden pay off!

WW Woolfolk Boys & Girls Club

Woolfolk Boys & Girls Club achieved many goals this year in terms of healthy eating and physical activity. Staff incorporated physical activity brain breaks into their transition time. They also created days where only girls or only boys were able to play in the gym. This encouraged all youth to get moving and utilize the program space on their specified days.

The club really excelled this summer with their cooking program. They won the Salsa Salsa competition among the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta with their Dill Pickle Salsa. To end the summer they celebrated with a healthy food party that was a huge success. We can’t wait to see what else Woolfolk does to improve healthy eating and physical activity in the club!