Over the summer, several Grand Rapids neighborhoods were beset by a rash of violence and shootings. In response, teen leadership groups at the Boys & Girls Clubs, called Keystone Clubs, began organizing a series of meetings and conversations they called “HOPE Talks”. For these Club members, the summer violence wasn’t just something in the news – it was happening in their neighborhoods, to people they knew – and they were determined to take some action to make their friends, their families, and themselves safer, and to build a stronger, safer community around them.
HOPE Talks is a great example of why our Keystone Clubs at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids Youth Commonwealth are so important. Through Keystone, our teens develop essential life skills necessary to make them the community leaders of tomorrow.
What is Keystone Club?
Keystone Club is a program unique to Boys & Girls Clubs that provides leadership development opportunities for teen Club members in and out of the Club. It helps teens create and maintain high standards of character, citizenship, health and education, as they grow into responsible, productive adults. Keystone offers teens the opportunity to:
- Develop and use leadership skills
- Contribute to the community through service and volunteering
- Foster understanding and respect between groups and individuals
- Learn practical skills and information for living in a responsible and fulfilled way
- Understand and participate in a free-enterprise system through fundraising activities
- Enjoy fellowship and develop self-confidence
- Participate in local and national Boys & Girls Clubs programs
- Participate in Teen Outreach to recruit other teens to Boys & Girls Clubs and Keystone
This year, our main goal is to put safety at the forefront of all programs. How does this tie into Keystone Club?
We have broken our program into three, 6-week rotations:
- Weeks 1-6 – Our club members will focus on their individual Keystone Club goals with a mini project at the end of the 6 weeks to promote positivity and safety.
- Weeks 7-12 – Our members will focus on agency and then plan and implement an outside volunteer opportunity for a cause of their choosing.
- Weeks 13-18 – Our Keystone members will then focus on belief. The three Keystone Clubs from each of our Grand Rapids sites will meet and plan a large panel for the city to discuss what we can do to make our community a safer place.
We are so proud of our teens for stepping up and rising to the challenge of community safety. We can’t wait to see the waves of change the teens will make in their clubs, their schools, and even their communities!
To learn more about volunteering with our Keystone Clubs or other areas, please visit our Volunteers page.