Creating Positive Community Change
Stories from Boys & Girls Clubs of Hudson County
Our 2020 Youth of the Year, Tatiana Cruz,
talks about the impact of the Club on her life.
Divya, a member who has attended every day since 5th grade,
created a rap song about #BlackLivesMatter and how she feels about it.
To help teens process and respond to acts of racism and violence in national news, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hudson County, was a sponsor of the March for Our Lives Jersey City. Keystoners participated in the Steering Committee, the Club’s logo was prominently featured on all volunteers’ t-shirts, and the Keystone President was a featured speaker. Seven of our members and staff even joined the Seventeen Magazine bus to the March for our Lives DC.
Adolescence is a period in which exposure to perspectives, opportunities, and experiences informs the way young people view the world and the extent to which they believe they have the agency and ability to shape it. Community dialogues spark positive interactions between youth and law enforcement, underscore the importance of youth voice and create opportunities for relationship-building and authentic collaboration to occur. We have provided opportunities for our members to interact with the police in relaxed settings including volleyball games and having conversations over pizza. Our alumni who are in law enforcement have also provided mentorship and their unique perspectives.
Our teens have been involved in civic engagement activities for the past few years. This includes voter registration drives, holding a town hall to bring youth together to discuss issues of concern to them, and even changing a state law. Club members were involved as leaders in the Black Lives Matter protests in Jersey City.
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