According to 9-year-old Cesar, his favorite thing about the Boys & Girls Club is playing sharks and minnows with his friends. His dad, on the other hand, appreciates the Club because it has opened up a new world of friends and opportunities for Cesar.

Like many children in families where English is not widely spoken at home, Cesar had communication barriers at school and at the Club when he began attending in first grade. With patience and guidance from the Club’s staff, his behavior and academic skills have improved significantly.

The Boys & Girls Club is just one of many out-of-school programs supported by United Way that provide safe places with caring mentors for children and teens. Children like Cesar develop a sense of belonging and have access to opportunities that prepare them for future success in school and life.

Sisters Annarose and Adeline love the fun activities and friends they’ve made through Girls on the Run Central Ohio. Their mother says the program gives them confidence and a sense of belonging. Youth programs also provide caring mentors and safe spaces, while teaching critical life skills and positive behaviors that help children succeed in school and life.

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