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Great Futures: Starting Here, Starting Now


The recent news about how Massena students, along with the rest of New York state, did on the latest curriculum tests was cause for concern to many people.

On paper, these test scores seem dismal. In third grade, 71 percent of students scored “below proficient” in English language arts and 79 percent scored “below proficient” in math. Scores hover at this level throughout the grades, up as high as 88 percent “below proficient” in sixth grade math.

The response to seeing numbers like these might be to cast blame. Are students not learning? Are teachers not teaching? Are the tests themselves unfair?

It seems as though the last of those statements may be closest to the truth based on reports from area superintendents that the test covered material before the schools received the curriculum. As Charlie Bucket’s teacher said in the 1971 movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, “… the test we take each Friday on what we learned during the week will now take place on Monday before we’ve learned it.”

Silly, right?

As a community, we can look at this as a great opportunity to spur the extra support our kids need to help them succeed.

Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) have made it their mission to help students achieve academically. Our Boys & Girls Club in Massena will enhance the great work our area educators are doing by providing proven programs developed by BGCA that help kids improve their grades and become more engaged in school. The goal is to help ensure that all Club members graduate on time, ready for post-secondary education or technical training and a 21st-century career.

When the Boys & Girls Club of Massena opens our doors in May of 2014, kids will have program opportunities like Power Hour, where they will be matched with a volunteer for one-on-one tutoring and homework help. They can dive into academic enrichment programs, like Game Tech (video game development), Skill Tech (to develop technical skills through cool, animated online lessons), learn about starting a business or explore career possibilities with mentors.

And, that just scratches the surface of all that the Boys & Girls Club of Massena will be to the thousands of kids who will swing open our doors in the years ahead!

The impact that Boys & Girls Clubs have on academic achievement is amazing: 90 percent of Club members graduate from high school. (That’s roughly a 14% improvement over the current Massena graduation rate.) And, with improved graduation rates for our kids there is a positive ripple effect, like improved career opportunities, living a healthier lifestyle, more community involvement and an amazing decrease in the number of young adults who turn to crime or drugs.

Our young people are future workers, voters and community members. They are our neighbors. When we fail kids, we fail our communities and ourselves.

The Boys & Girls Club of Massena can provide the help our kids need; but, we’re going to need the community’s support in order to get our doors open. Please be a part of our mission – visit our website at and find out how you can make a donation. Together, we can help the kids of our community have Great Futures.

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