Stability is one of the most important factors contributing to a child’s success in life. That’s why United Way of Berks County supports Olivet Boys & Girls Club, a local organization giving kids a safe haven and offering diverse programs for youth to learn life skills, take part in the arts and athletics, receive academic and emotional support and socialize.
The majority of youth served by the United Way agency partner live below the poverty line, particularly those in single-parent homes, foster homes, or without a stable home at all. The passionate staff and volunteers across Olivet’s 10 club locations give each child holistic, individualized care, including mentorship, and at times, basic necessities like food and clothing.
Chris Winters, Berks County native and CEO of Olivet Boys & Girls Club, says of his work: “The children of this community need us to be their advocates and their voices. What drives me every day is the child who sees no future ahead of them. How can we convince them that they don’t have to live in a cycle of drugs, crime, or poverty? That they can go to a trade school, to college, or join the military? That they can get a job and be a productive part of society? By giving them a safe haven, helping them with their education, guiding them when they need it, and raising them up, we show them that they can succeed. They can lead. They can be whoever they want to be.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the team at Olivet to constantly adapt these last several months, and with the support of United Way and others, the agency continued to focus on the well-being of the children by serving over 45,000 kids meals and provided virtual learning support.
THIS IS: keeping kids safe and healthy