Toronto Kiwanis Boys & Girls Clubs
Our Impact Why We Exist
TKBGC believes in creating a world where every child and youth knows they are respected and valued; where their voices inform solutions that address their needs and the needs of families and communities; where they know they have the power to achieve their dreams.
Our Story What We Do
History of Organization
The Club's Founding Partner, The Kiwanis Club of Toronto, established the Toronto Kiwanis Boys & Girls Clubs (TKBGC) in 1921. TKBGC's historic facility, a church originally built in 1921 at 101 Spruce St., was purchased by the Kiwanis Club of Toronto in 1939. TKBGC incorporated as a not-for profit organization, separate from the Kiwanis Club of Toronto in 1992. Since then, TKBGC has helped over 50,000 inner-city children and youth reach their full-potential.
After 90 years this warm place was showing its age. The Clubhouse was temporarily closed for a $7.5 million redevelopment project in 2009. During those capacity-building years, TKBGC opened six additional program sites in the Regent Park community. The ambitious two-year capital improvement project ended on January 26, 2012 when 101 Spruce Street re-opened as The Toronto Kiwanis Boys & Girls Clubs Miles & Kelly Nadal Youth Centre. TKBGC continues to grow and expand its service offerings including full-day learning opportunities at The TP Loblaw Club site.
TKBGC now serves 1,300 “at-risk” children and youth throughout the year at four program sites. Year-round activities mean that children and youth are constantly learning through challenging pro-social activities in safe supervised spaces. Serving children and youth six days a week, TKBGC truly is “a good place to be”.
Accolades and Accomplishments
TKBGC has developed numerous program models adopted by Boys & Girls Clubs across Canada.
A recent example is when in 2004, as a result of a significant increase in gun violence in the Regent Park community, TBKBC established the Safewalk Home Program. There were nine shootings in Regent Park that summer and parents fearfully shut their kids inside to protect them from the outside world. Since the program began - 300 children per day are now walked from their schools to our community programs, and then brought home safely by local responsible youth who are trained and supervised by the Club – each and every night.
The Club is the largest employer of youth in Regent Park. They are hired “walkers” and value this opportunity as a first job, learning about responsibilities and making “on the spot” decisions.
Another first of TKBGC is the dedicated Youth Floor at the Toronto Kiwanis Boys & Girls Clubs, Miles and Kelly Nadal Youth Centre located at 101 Spruce Street. This will be the first dedicated place for youth (ages 13-19) living in Regent Park.Previously, the only other after-school options for teenagers remain as hanging out at home or at friends, in stairwells or on the streets.
Our Programs How We Do It
For over 90-years, TKBGC has been a leader in providing innovative and creative after-school programming for children between the ages of 6 to 11; and youth between the ages of 12 to 18. Children’s after-school and evening youth programs run between 3p.m. to 9p.m. - the time when the youth crime-rate skyrockets. In September 2013 TKBGC launched its first full-day early years programming for children between the ages of 3 to 5 in the west end. TKBGC has four different sites that serve over 1,300 children and youth annually in two communities: Regent Park (downtown east) and Trinity Bellwoods (downtown west).
Our Club introduces young people to challenging activities that encourage healthy lifestyle choices, personal development, physical fitness, and community involvement. Families struggle against poverty and isolation in an area surrounded by homelessness, gangs, drugs and street crime. With sixty-nine per cent of our families earning less than $20,000 annually and some living on as little as $8,000; TKBGC provides children from low-income families with supervised after-school activities centred on literacy and learning; cooking and nutrition; creative arts; physical activity; personal development; as well as, career development and leadership training.
Our after-school programs operate from the first day of school in September through to the last day of school in June. Day camp activities are planned throughout the summer, on P.A. Days and the March and winter breaks. In late 2013 the Club began offering Saturday youth programs along with year-round youth programming opportunities.
Operating like a grassroots organization, we take direction from the bottom; adapt to the needs of our members and respond to opportunities when made available. As such, our latest priorities range from being the leading youth serving organization in the community; improving the community’s crisis response network and investing $7.5 million to redevelop our facility.
Children’s After School Program
The redevelopment of TKBGC reflects the expansion of Regent Park where the children’s population is projected to double from 5,000 to 10,000.
The Children’s After School program for 6 to 13-year olds introduces TKBGC members to a variety of activities and programs that promote physical, creative, educational, and social development through learning and play. This program operates from the first day of school in September through to the last day of school in June. A Summer Camp program is also provided.
Children are divided into groups by age and participate in a daily rotation of planned activities that starts with a nutritious snack followed by homework (mandatory), physical and creative activities, and a quiet games time.
The Literacy for Life Program is provided in partnership with Frontier College. We provide a quiet atmosphere for members to learn basic literacy skills through reading, storytelling, word activities and games. Other options include computer skills, recreation activities in the gym, arts and craft, gardening club, public speaking, and chess.
Research demonstrates the importance and benefit of programs that supplement the education system, particularly among children living in high-risk environments.
Our children and youth improve their academic standing compared to those not attending after-school programs, and parents of our members are truly relieved when they see the joy of success on their children’s faces. But more to the point; it is the life-changing experiences that alumni of the boys & girls clubs describe. In an Ipsos-Reid pole (2005) “69% of alumni remarked that their experience at a Boys & Girls Club “saved their life.”
With new funding, we can rebuild the building that has already helped 50,000 children… and help 50,000 more.
Toronto's Vital Signs® indicator(s) addressed by Program
“After-school programs make a critical difference in safety and skill development: In the higher-risk hours between 3 and 6 PM, unsupervised children are more likely to engage in gang-related or delinquent behaviour, or become victims of crime.” (Toronto’s Vital Signs®)
The Children’s After School program for 6 to 13-year olds introduces TKBGC members to a variety of activities and programs that promote physical, creative, educational, and social development through learning and play.
A little refugee girl wouldn’t participate or speak a word for her first few weeks. She was new to Canada, Toronto, and TKBGC. Our staff and volunteers worked patiently and lovingly with her. They “met her where she was emotionally”...and then she finally opened up... Then she quickly became the first kid to arrive at TKBGC after school. She became one of our most chatty, enthusiastic & cheerful members… and then she began to apply herself at school.
Before the facility's redevelopment, there was no supervised space in Regent Park for youth to go after school or during the evenings. The new 4th floor made available to them by TKBGC will be their first space dedicated to their specific needs. Studies have shown that mentorship and recreation are valuable experiences through which youth can grow and learn. These forms of ‘development’ are integral goals of the TKBGC youth program.
Activities on the 4th floor will create an environment in which young people are fostered to successfully move beyond childhood and into the world of adulthood and greater independence. It will be a place that they can call their own and learn from adults and peers. Approximately 250 youth-members are expected to benefit from these programs every week. Youth-led activities may include physical and academic pursuits, or workshops like resume writing or “dealing with problems in my family.”
It is known that youth have seven developmental needs that should be met in order to prepare for adulthood. Program Objectives: a sense of achievement and self-definition, physical activity and creative expression, understanding of structure and clear limits through positive interactions with trained peers and caring adults. And finally a sense of meaningful participation will help our youth to develop a desire to be part of the ‘real’ adult world, and accept responsibilities within their roles in society. We build a sense of competence, self-control and satisfaction in teenagers.
Toronto's Vital Signs® indicator(s) addressed by Program
“There are twice as many youth gangs in 2000 – an estimated 100 to 160. Gangs actively recruit within high schools, and attract members as young as 13.” (Toronto’s Vital Signs®)
TKBGC’s youth program will create an environment in which young people are fostered to successfully move beyond childhood and into the world of adulthood and greater independence. It will be a place that they can call their own and learn from adults and peers. In doing so, children and youth will take part in creating a safer and healthier community.
I was ten years old when my elementary school was shut down. Forced to attend a larger school nearby, I had a hard time adjusting to my new surroundings. I was shy and very intimidated by the other students and new environment. To help me get through it, my mom signed me up for the Toronto Kiwanis Boys and Girls Club after school program. I took part in many different activities and programs such as cooking & nutrition club, applied scholastics, floor hockey and other house leagues, art club, and girls group. The Kiwanis Club became my new favourite place to be. I continued to be a member throughout my early teens, taking part in the youth drop in programs like graphic design, computer skills and the leadership club. When I was seventeen, I was nominated and chosen to be the representative for the Toronto Kiwanis Boys and Girls Club on the Provincial Youth Council. While I didn’t know it at the time, my experiences at the Club ultimately shaped who I am. Today, I am succeeding in school and in life.
Currently in fourth year Honours History and Sociology at York University, my plan is to teach. I am grateful to the Toronto Kiwanis Boys and Girls Club. It is truly “a great place to be”! - Kelly
What You Can Do
Children’s After School Program
Activities a donation will support
Donations are encouraged at all levels for program support, new program creation or the capital campaign improvement porject. The capital campaign improvement project can offer 20-year naming opportunities (offered as 3-5 year pledges).
There are already 50,000 success stories about the impact of supporting TKBGC. A summary of an alumni study conducted by The Boys & Girls Clubs of Canada gives measurement to the value of investing in our clubs as:
- 97% say their experience with the clubs has made them better off today
- 73% say their involvement with the clubs helped them avoid trouble with the law
- 95% say that their club provided them with valuable skills for life
- 69% say their involvement with the clubs really saved their life
Donors can help build a new environment for the next 50,000 children.
Regent Park teenagers and young adults will have a stronger sense of who they are as individuals, with strengthened resilience skills and leadership potential. They will be better prepared for job interviews and employment opportunities, and for when applying for scholarships.
TKBGC has a major role in managing their transition from youth to adulthood; bridging the gap to a life of maturity and independence.