Boys & Girls Club – A Success Story

–written by the Boys & Girls Club of Northern San Luis Obispo County

FullSizeRenderWe were first approached by Madyson’s grandmother in Spring of 2013, desperate to find a place for her four-year old granddaughter to spend the summer.  Her first question was, “What do you do when a child runs away?”  Further discussion with the family helped us understand that Madyson would need some special attention.  Her young age, behavioral issues, and lack of experience with a structured program were all cause for concern.  Nonetheless, we were determined to give Madyson a chance to find her place at the Boys and Girls Club.

Early on Madyson struggled with following directions, sitting for organized group activities, and focusing on summer learning activities.  She had difficulties keeping her hands to herself and her method of communicating with other members was yelling and grabbing.  Hiding under tables and behind doors was frequent when she did not want to participate in our programs or did not her her way, and she received several disciplinary write-ups during her first months.

Over several months staff worked with her on proper ways of communicating, using words to explain how she feels and get her needs met.  We also worked with her on socialization and provided individualized help to accommodate her learning style.  It became apparent that Madyson loves to he a helper and we used this framework to help her understand and follow club rules.  Madyson is now a wonderful club member who participates fully in classes, Power Hour, and group activities.  She shows up with a huge smile and willingly engages with others.  For the 2014-2015 school year, Madyson has not received a single disciplinary write-up and in fact, was honored as Youth of the Month for January.

Madyson’s mother Jessica, ins a single mom living and working in Atascadero.  She felt that Madyson thrived at the Paso Summer Camp so she has continued to bring Madyson to after-school program on a daily basis.  Jessica leaves work at 2:30 to bring Madyson from her school to the Club and returns at 6:00 to pick her up.  Last year Madyson was able to attend the summer program in Atascadero.  Jessica says that an Atascadero after-school program would be an “answer to her prayers” and “that her employer would be thrilled as well.”