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BGC extends hours to provide more youth programs

BGC youth playing basketball in the Police Athletic League programs at the West End Community Centre. Image provided by BGC South East.

BGC South East will begin offering expanded and enhanced youth programs on Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021, which will include programming on weeknights and weekends.

“We have learned a lot in this last year of COVID-19 programs,” said Harold Parsons, Executive Director at BGC South East. “We have restructured so we can offer the programs in need and relevance for our community.”

Leading this expansion of youth programs will be Jahmaal Branker, a Club member and staff for more than 10 years, who is now embracing the new role of Manager of Youth Programs, according to a release from BGC, dated Friday, Sept. 17, 2021.

“We have seen Jahmaal grow in the Club, being in our programs since he was 12,” remembered Parsons.

From a Club kid, Jahmaal excelled in leadership programs, becoming a key mentor to youth as a volunteer and staff member, according to the release. BGC said Jahmaal has been at the vanguard of the Club’s social justice and youth advocacy initiatives, representing the Club in the National Youth Council.

“It has been especially rewarding to see Jahmaal’s trajectory with us. We could not be happier to have him step up to lead this new phase of our youth programs,” Parsons said. “Jahmaal’s growth just captures so well what our Club is all about: developing young people, providing career opportunities, and supporting youth in their different life stages and needs,”

Weeknight and weekend programs will be offered at the West End Community Centre and Rideau Heights Community Centre and will include sports, school and career support, arts and science, and music for youth up to 18 years old, the organization said.

“Youth can come once a week or every day. We are the safe place where youth come to play sports, do school work, plan for their futures, and discover themselves,” said Branker.

“The Club is where I discovered my love for sports and mentoring. It is great to see we are now open more hours, more days a week… so when youth are not in school, they have the Club to build on healthy and positive experiences,” he added.

In line with the Club’s COVID-19 protocols, youth are asked to register and have the flexibility to access the programs through drop-ins:

West End Community Centre (1300 Bath Road)

  • Tuesdays & Wednesdays 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Thursdays & Fridays 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Saturdays 4:30 p.m.to 9 p.m.

To register, please contact [email protected].

Rideau Heights Community Centre (85 MacCauley Street)

  • Mondays 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Wednesdays 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Thursdays 6 p.m.to 8 p.m.

To register, please contact [email protected]

“Because our youth programs are completely free, we are indebted to the support that has allowed them to thrive. With significant support from the Kinsmen Club of Kingston, our youth programs have incredibly grown in the last 5 years. In addition, support from the United Way of KFL&A has further allowed programs to stay running and relevant, through this especially challenging year,” said Parsons.

For more information about BGC Southeast and its youth programs, please visit bgcsoutheast.ca

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