Boys & Girls Clubs of Athens Makes an Impact on Local Youth with Support from the AT&T Foundation

Staff Report

Friday, January 20th, 2023

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Athens launched YouthForce Fast Forward (YFFF) in the summer of 2022. This program aimed to strengthen our community collaborations with existing nonprofits - all while expanding the Boys & Girls Clubs’ outreach in the Athens- Clarke County community. YFFF responded to the growing outcry of violence and disengagement amongst the youth in Athens, GA by implementing both traditional and innovative programs to attract youth.

With the help of a $25,000 donation from the AT&T Foundation, YouthForce was able to offer programs in financial literacy, recreation (such as stepping), robotics, chess, debate, work readiness, soft skills development, sports management, and discipline. This program reached over 215 kids, aged 11 – 18 years old, with over 8,000 hours of program engagement. These programs operated daily and provided both in-person and virtual opportunities.

“At AT&T, we are committed to supporting programs that advance education and improve lives for youth,” said Brian Barfield, regional director, AT&T Georgia. “By supporting the Boys & Girls Clubs YouthForce program, we are helping provide local youth with hands-on experience, training and skills that will position them for success today and in the future.”

YouthForce Fast Forward paved the way for our brand new YouthForce Innovation Hub, which celebrated its grand opening on October 20th, 2022. The success of the summer activities awakened the community to the possibilities of collaboration and the vital necessity for preparing Athens youth for the existing workforce. The YouthForce Innovation Hub continues to partner with community nonprofits to provide free space for them to engage teens who are exploring the pathway to upward mobility and career success.

“AT&T’s investment in our program helped us provide workforce activities to over 200 young people during the summer. Those funds have also helped us serve more teens in our YouthForce Innovation Hub, located in GA Square Mall” according to Sterling Gardner, VP of Workforce Development.

This location will be the epicenter of our overall YouthForce Program - designed to allow our kids to learn about their options after middle and high school - whether that be planning to further their education, learning skills to manage their money and secure employment, or pursue training towards industries they may not know how to break into.