Executive Director Joe Hungler recently joined more than 300 Boys & Girls Club professionals, Board members and youth in Washington D.C. to advocate for our young people as part of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s National Days of Advocacy. This inspirational event gives members of the Club community the opportunity to share their Club impact stories directly with members of Congress and their staff.
Joe was one of 12 individuals representing Massachusetts’ 64 Boys & Girls Clubs. The goal of the visit was building relationships with the legislators, as well as advocating for legislation that will improve the lives and futures of our members. Joe said of his visit “I was energized by being able to advocate for very clear needs of our members in partnership with 12 folks from MA and more than 300 from across our country. Seeing so many people united around providing food to hungry kids, accessing additional mental health supports, building workforce development programs and improving education was so powerful and inspiring.“
Joe spent time with representatives from Senators Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren’s offices, as well as a representative from Congresswoman Lori Trahan’s office (2 out of the three representatives were Club alumni, with the representative from Congresswoman Trahan’s office being a Lowell alum!) In these visits, Joe, along with other members of the MA delegation, advocated for support of the Summer Meals Act of 2023. This legislation will allow us to serve 3 meals a day in the summer and combine the school year and summer programs into one. This means more money and time to be spent on actually feeding kids and teens than on bureaucracy.
Two former MA Club members who were present talked about their experience with the food program at their Club, both taking part as hungry teens as well as serving meals and being staff now. Their stories were impactful, and data backs up the importance of food programs in Clubs – Black and Hispanic Club members are 2-3 times more likely to eat fruits and vegetables than Black and Hispanic youth across the state.
In addition to food insecurity, discussions took place around Mental health challenges and solutions, workforce development programs and solving educational disparities among low-income and BIPOC youth aligned well with the approach and impact that Clubs have on the youth they serve.
Visit https://www.bgca.org/get-involved/advocacy to learn more about Boys & Girls Club advocacy programs and how you can become a catalyst for change.
To learn more about the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Lowell visit www.lbgc.org