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Building a Club, Building Hope Madison Square Boys and Girls Club 155th Street Project


Building a Club, Building Hope

We are working to transform Harlem. “When we see the face of a child, we think of the future. We think of their dreams about what they might become, and what they might accomplish.” —Desmond Tutu

IT IS A MISSION 130 YEARS IN THE MAKING. Founded in Manhattan in 1884, Madison Square Boys & Girls Club has helped generations of disadvantaged children and teens overcome the pernicious threats of gangs, drugs and poverty, as well as poor health and housing, abuse and emotional neglect. At the heart of the mission are our Clubhouses: four distinctive safe havens across the city where children ages 6 to 18 can thrive in comprehensive after-school and summer programs, finding second homes where opportunities are abundant and expectations are high. Through targeted programs and daily interactions with staff, Clubhouses offer a supportive, fun environment, where members build character, citizenship, community engagement and self-worth, while fostering academic success, healthy lifestyles and positive relationships. Members return year after year, and so do alumni. Lifelong friendships are made and plans for the future formed. Grades soar and so do spirits.

Now, we aim to expand on this proven model with our most ambitious project yet: a 42,000 sq. foot Clubhouse in Harlem, one of New York City’s most vibrant, diverse, yet underserved neighborhoods. Located on 155th Street, the Harlem Clubhouse will be a signature, stateof-the-art flagship, giving up to 1,500 Harlem youth a year a chance to experience all the programs and opportunities we offer. A jewel in one of the roughest patches of New York City, the new Club marks a return to our roots in Manhattan and will set the standard for other Boys & Girls Clubs across the nation. This $65+ million capital endowment campaign will not only help build our new home, it will establish a lasting endowment to ensure Madison’s future and its commitment to youth across the city. The Harlem Clubhouse also embodies something simpler—and more powerful: hope, that sense of ambition and optimism that Madison Square Boys & Girls Club nurtures in the minds and hearts of young people for whom such feelings can be difficult to find, let alone cultivate. H-O-P-E: Four simple letters that can make all the difference. And it begins with an H, for Harlem.


Madison Square Boys and Girls Club

D’ONTE REID DOESN’T MENTION the fear, or the chemo, or the days he lost in a hospital bed. All he says is that Madison was there when he needed them. “Without the Club I wouldn’t have had the help and support I needed to push through,” said D’Onte, a quiet 18 year old. “I am a cancer survivor.” D’Onte was diagnosed with leukemia in grade school. And when he got sick, staffers from the Navy Yard Clubhouse brought D’Onte practice tests and books in the hospital and then at home, while his friends from the Club boosted his spirits. “They kept me on track,” he said.

Building a Club, Building Hope

H is for Harlem Rich in history, Harlem remains one of the most perilous places in New York to raise a child, particularly in the northeastern corner, a blighted triangle where drugs, gangs and violence confront residents on a daily basis.

Today, he is in remission and looking ahead to college. In 2013, he was elected as one of the Club’s Youth of the Year, an accomplishment celebrated at Chelsea Piers in Manhattan, where he gave a short speech that brought the crowd— including Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey—to their feet. “I know, first hand, no matter your age, life is not promised,” D’Onte said. “I want to let you know that there is hope beyond obstacles. And the Club is the best place for youth to get support no matter what their challenges are.”

IT’S IN THESE neighborhoods where thousands of low-income families and their children struggle to overcome poverty, lack of opportunity and isolation. The neighborhood is surrounded by four massive public housing complexes and cut off from the rest of the city by cliffs to the west and the Harlem River to the east. Schools are subpar. Families are often fractured. Danger—and bad decisions—lurk on any street. And that’s exactly where—and exactly why—Madison will make its new home there, creating an inspiring new Harlem landmark. Funded by this $65+ million capital endowment, Madison will transform the site of a former garage on the corner of 155th Street and Bradhurst Avenue into an urban oasis for our members, bringing services, safe havens, and yes, HOPE,

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to an area desperate for all three. Indeed, despite boulevards and parks named for African American heroes like Frederick Douglass and Jackie Robinson, the Bradhurst neighborhood in northeast central Harlem has been decimated by decades of neglect. Historically known as one of the worst parts of Harlem, Bradhurst has nearly 6,000 youth under the age of 18, but no comprehensive youth service agencies or after-school programs. One in three adults is unemployed, and 40 percent of residents live below the federal poverty line. And the path out can seem impossible: More than 40 percent of adults in northeastern Harlem are high school dropouts, more than twice that percentage fail to graduate from college, and rates of robberies, assaults and other serious crimes are among the highest in Manhattan. These grim statistics amplify the dire need for the safety, support and services that Madison’s recreational and after-school programming can provide. By honing in on the needs of at-risk youth in their own neighborhood, the Harlem Clubhouse represents a rare chance for the area’s young people to overcome their surroundings. And with your help, we can insure that the next generation of Harlem’s children and young adults reclaim their hopes of their community and their own dreams.

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“At Madison, we let our kids know they are worthy of our respect and they are capable of almost anything. We show that we care about them, that we love them. We teach them to care about themselves. Kids who don’t have hope give up. We provide the kind of impact that gives them hope.” —Joe Patuleia, Executive Director of Madison Square Boys and Girls Club


Madison Square Boys and Girls Club

Building a Club, Building Hope

O is for Opportunity Tailored to the unique needs of their neighborhoods, Madison’s Clubhouses give young people the chance to experience quality programs they have never seen before. College-bound students will use the Club to prep for testing, entrance exams and interviews, while non-college-bound teens will be encouraged to pursue alternative educational and professional paths. And all members will learn practical skills in the Club’s new kitchen and dining hall, encouraging healthy eating and lifestyles, and providing a place to relax and bond with fellow kids and staff.

OUR NEW HARLEM HOME will be no exception: a five-story, 42,000 sq.-foot Clubhouse, our largest ever, will overflow with amenities and activities, serving up to 400 children and teens every day in one of the toughest parts of the City. Once built, the Club will buzz with young minds and bodies in motion, with something for every interest and every age of our membership, from shy 6-year-olds to outspoken college-bound teens: Young artists will be able to hone their craft in a spacious fine arts studio, while young computer wizards craft their code in a fully-wired, cutting-edge computer lab. Future business people, fledging community leaders, and young entertainers will find a home in a new performance space, perfect for public speaking and theatrical rehearsals. Athletes will enjoy a new fitness center and a new gymnasium, as well as two unique facilities —a swimming pool and a rooftop soccer field. Swimming, particularly, has been a proud tradition at Madison, teaching a potentially life-saving skill and a fun and competitive one: Madison’s swim team—the Dolphins—has regularly participated in league, city and junior Olympics tournaments. 8

That sense of engagement often lasts a lifetime. Many members continue to be involved in the Clubhouses when they grow up, taking full time jobs or volunteering for Madison. Shawonda Swain was a member at the Navy Yard Clubhouse in Brooklyn—escaping her own hard times—before she succeeded in overcoming and coming back to become the club’s director, an ongoing circle of service that she says she sees repeated every day. “Literally, 85 percent of my staff are alumni of the club,” she said. “Kids feel like they belong here, that they are not just part of a group, but part of a larger family. Over time, they know that this is where you can turn for help, and that this is someplace they can come and know that they can be heard. And then they walk out and they want to give back.” That tradition will continue in Harlem, where the new Clubhouse will be a safe, secure homeaway-from-home for as many as 1,500 new members: a place for young people to learn, to grow, and to feel empowered and connected with others, while offering their parents a sense of day-to-day stability and peace of mind. And it will be our home, too: the headquarters of our administrative staff, a sign of the organization’s continued commitment to investing in our host communities. In Harlem, we will plant roots and let opportunities, with an O, grow.

WHEN JAYDEN R. FIRST ARRIVED at the Thomas Murphy Clubhouse, he was not your typical rambunctious 6 year old; in fact, he was so shy that he barely spoke. “He was very timid,” recalls Carmen Rodriguez, the Assistant Director at the Club. As a result, his grades were suffering, and he was in danger of being held back. Not to mention, Jayden was disengaged from his peers and seemingly harboring deep feelings of sadness. Jayden’s timidity was in part because of his home life: His parents worked fulltime and were juggling raising five young children without additional support. But the more Jayden came to the Club, the more he discovered new games, new activities and new friends. Most importantly, Jayden got personal tutoring, every day, something Ms. Rodriguez said was critical to his development. “We provide a safe space, where [our members] feel comfortable to talk and tell us what their struggles are,” she said. “And what we found out was that Jayden was a very sharp kid who just needed some extra support.” Now 9, Jayden runs into the Club with gusto to show off his schoolwork and tell his tutors about his day; any hint of his former self and his shyness has gone away. He is back on track to succeed in school and has big dreams: “When I grow up, I want to be a doctor to help younger kids. I want them to know that they’re going to be OK…. and that this is a fun place.” And it is a fun place. When homework is done, Jayden runs to play with scooters and shoot hoops, a newly emerged leader among all of his Madison friends.

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“Every kid has their story. A lot of them literally grow up here. 85 percent of my staff are alumni of the club that I’ve known personally since they were about six. This is someplace they can come and know that they can be heard. And then they walk out and they want to give back.” —Shawonda Swain, Clubhouse Director of the Navy Yard Clubhouse and a Madison alumna


Madison Square Boys and Girls Club

Building a Club, Building Hope

P is for Programs With four Clubhouses and three school sites citywide, Madison currently serves more than 5,000 youth annually with programs that address the immediate needs of each member. LUZ NEGRON IS PROOF THAT swimming can take you places. As a member of the Madison Dolphins, the Club’s swim team, Luz has travelled as far as Puerto Rico to compete in tournaments, something she never could have imagined before she came to the Joel E. Smilow Clubhouse in the Bronx, where Luz practiced her strokes in the Club’s pool and honed her personal strengths. “The Clubhouse really got me out of the street,” she said. “If I wasn’t here, I’d be hanging out with the wrong crowd.” Luz says that Madison has also given her the opportunity to rise above a childhood which included drug use in her family and separation from her siblings. “I always felt down,” she said. “But coming to Madison raised my self-esteem. If it wasn’t for that, I would still be the same depressed child I was back then.” Now, Luz is planning for a future, both in the pool and out. As the captain of her high school swim team with excellent grades, Luz is looking at colleges with strong swim teams and looking forward to serving as the Madison’s Overall 2014 Youth of the Year. “In my life I never had a chance to represent anything,” she said. “The Clubhouse has allowed me to look at myself, see I’m alright, and know that I’m a capable young woman, who is able to help others. And I want to keep doing that: giving back to the Clubhouse that has given me so much.”

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AND ALL THAT BEGINS with education: As an organization, Madison believes that learning is critical to breaking the cycle of poverty, and all educational initiatives reflect our vision that every member should be promoted on time to the next grade level; graduate from high school; and be fully prepared to achieve real world success. To that end, the Club has developed a three-phase educational program, proven methods that will serve hundreds of new members in our new Harlem Clubhouse. It begins with The Explorers Academy— for children ages 6 to 9—, which ignites a lifelong love of learning by engaging youth as early as possible, reinforcing math skills and literacy in smaller groups and with more personal attention than most young children find in their public schools. Next, BE GREAT: Graduate (ages 10 to 12) focuses on building an ongoing scholastic career, and confronting the risk factors associated with dropping out of school, including irregular attendance, behavioral issues, and failing grades. The BE GREAT program uses a comprehensive approach overseen by caring staffers— including mentoring, tracking of educational and emotional progress, and regular meetings with family members—to achieve academic success. Finally, there is our long-running Project Graduate program, which emphasizes educational enrichment for college-bound teens. Geared towards members ages 13 to 18, Project Graduate provides guidance and skill building to help them meet high school graduation requirements, navigate the college application process, and successfully transition to college.

Learning doesn’t only mean textbooks, however. Programs like Torch Club and Keystone Club give members the chance to engage in community service and leadership opportunities, inspiring strong character development, instilling a sense of personal and community responsibility, and building effective, positive strategies for responding to conflict. Our programs also address specific needs of young men and women: In our SMART Girls program female participants examine the physical and emotional changes they undergo during pre-adolescence and adolescence, media influences on how they feel about themselves, personal values and social interactions, female victimization, sexual myths and truths, and making SMART decisions. Our Passport to Manhood program, meanwhile, addresses critical issues that young men face during this time, such as ethics, decisionmaking, wellness, fatherhood, employment and careers, cooperation and conflict, diversity, relationships and self-esteem. Taken as a whole, Madison’s programs confront the educational—and emotional—challenges that face children as they grow up, phases that can be profoundly complicated by stressful circumstances at home or school. For some, that help can be as simple as a solid meal after a day at school, positive reinforcement for good behavior, or recognition of a good day (or a bad one). Clubs offer constructive activities that channel youthful energy into challenging pursuits: Students perform in Clubhouse theatrical productions, learn music, write stories or songs, and compete in inter-Club sports. Many kids are withdrawn at first, either by nature or circumstance, and need to be drawn out of their shells in order to thrive at school and life beyond. Others simply need to feel more basic connections. 13


“I see greatness in our kids. And you know when you see it; you know what it looks like. And there is greatness: Because when you take a lump of coal and you put a lot of pressure on it, and you squeeze it, you know what you get? You get diamonds.” —Stan King, Clubhouse Director at the

Thomas S. Murphy Clubhouse


Madison Square Boys and Girls Club

E is for Engagement The challenges facing the children served by Madison have never been more stark: Poverty is at record levels, funding for social services is endangered, and recent financial crises and ongoing economic uncertainty have imperiled other philanthropic sources.

BUT WHILE SOME might have chosen to ignore these problems, we are choosing to engage. The Madison Square Boys & Girls Club $65+ million capital endowment will be a group effort, and much of that work has already been done, including how we will allocate the $65+ million that we aim to raise: New Harlem Clubhouse: $30 million. Funds used to acquire the land parcel at 250 Bradhurst Avenue at 155th Street, as well as to cover the design and construction costs of the Harlem Clubhouse.

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Clubhouse Endowment: $35 million. To ensure that Madison’s commitment to Harlem youth and those at four existing locations can be met in coming decades, a lasting endowment will be established.

Our goals are both near- and long-term: the speedy construction of our newest Clubhouse and an endowment to guarantee that our kids can rely on us, year in and year out, for generations to come.

Building a Club, Building Hope

ELIZABETH ORTIZ STARTED dancing in elementary school, about the same time she started attending the Columbus Clubhouse in the Bronx. She never left. She joined the Club staff at 19 and is now the Director of the Fine Arts Program there.“I knew I had to give back what the Club gave me,” she said “Which was a passion about life and dedication to helping others.” Giving back is a common theme for Madison employees, many of whom found shelter from crime, gangs and other urban plights in the Clubhouses. “They literally save lives,” she said. And deepen them. Members of the Columbus Clubhouse’s award-winning dance team have performed at Madison Square Garden, Yankee Stadium, and Elizabeth, now 33, feels her work helps prepare young people for bigger challenges. “Without the Club, I wouldn’t be the person I am today,” she said. “I know what our people are going through. And I know the impact I’m making now is changing the life of a young person right now.”

These dual aspirations are apt: The problems facing our members, after all, are both immediate and ongoing, including high unemployment, poverty, crime, population density and unsatisfactory housing conditions. Each could be enough to doom a child to an unhappy life. But the Madison family—our staff, our members, our supporters—have never shrunk from a challenge: For more than 130 years, Madison Square Boys & Girls Club has been fighting to save and enhance the lives of New York City boys and girls who by reason of economic or social factors are most in need of our services, and equip them with the tools necessary to pursue the vast opportunities that lie ahead. And that mission, that engagement, and that HOPE all continue with this campaign.

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Madison Square Boys and Girls Club

Milestones 1884: Founding member of Boys & Girls Club of America

1981: Madison acquires the Navy Yard Boys Club in Brooklyn

1939: Madison opens its first Clubhouse on 29th Street

1984: Madison changes its name to reflect the increased female participation in Club programs and becomes “Madison Square Boys & Girls Club”

1954: Madison helps establish Boys Club of Queens 1958: Madison opens the Freeman Street Boys Club in the Bronx

1984: Madison purchases Camp Madison in Upstate New York

1964: Ground is broken for a second 1989: Madison re-opens the doors Bronx Club, the Columbus of the Flatbush Boys Club in Clubhouse, marking a ten-year Brooklyn (now the Thomas period of organizational expansion S. Murphy Clubhouse) 1967: A fire that damaged the 1993: Madison opens Clubhouse Freeman Street Boys Club in Carey Gardens in leads to construction of the collaboration with the New Hoe Avenue Clubhouse (now York City Housing Authority the Joel E. Smilow Clubhouse) 1995: Madison raises more than $10 1970: The Hoe Avenue Clubhouse million during the “Campaign opens its doors for the 90s,” which increased services and programs for youth

1995: Madison opens Clubhouse in Far Rockaways in collaboration with the New York City Housing Authority 1999: Madison opens Clubhouse on 22nd Street in New York City 1999: Madison opens Clubhouse at a homeless shelter in collaboration with H.E.L.P. USA 2009: Madison partners with NYC Department of Education and New York State OASAS (Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services) to open after-school sites in three Brooklyn schools 2013: Madison serves 5,000 youth every year in our four Clubhouses and three school sites 2014: 130 years of serving New York City’s most at-risk youth

Facts 94% of Madison kids ages 6-12 were promoted to the next grade level. 90% of Madison kids exceeded school attendance averages. 94% of high school seniors in the Project Graduate Program graduated from high school. 99% of Madison teenagers have an expected high school completion.

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89% expect to attend college.

More than 200 teens complete an evidence-based drug, alcohol and tobacco prevention program every year.

Nearly 400 members are enrolled in our aquatics program, which is home to the largest minority swimming program in New York City.

More than 800 youth, family and community members take part in our annual health fairs at each of our Clubhouses. Digital Rendering of the Harlem Clubhouse


“During my teenage years, Madison Square Boys & Girls Club was essentially my whole life. They gave me hope at a time when I didn’t have much faith in myself. The Madison Square Boys and Girls Club can— and will—change your life.” —Carline Balan, a Clubhouse alumna

and successful business woman

317 Madison Avenue Suite 1110 NY, NY 10017 | 212.760.9600


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