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Boys & Girls Club aims to keep connection in crisis

 For nearly all of its 83 years the Arlington Boys & Girls Club has stood on the banks of Spy Pond offering fantastic programs and services to the youth of Arlington and beyond. Its bright, blue building serves as a beacon of light and hope for families in this community.freepress 300 81518

The club has experienced much in its 83-year history -- wars, blizzards, Sept. 11, the Boston Marathon bombing -- and its staff has provided leadership, compassion, kindness and strength to its members and to the citizens of Arlington during those challenging times. The way the Arlington Boys & Girls Club is caring for its youth members and their families during the current Covid-19 public-health crisis continues this honorable tradition.  

The dedicated staff has been working diligently behind the scenes to create a "virtual club" and to find new and innovative ways to constantly stay connected with their members. Each day the club posts new content to its social-media sites, Facebook and Instagram. Staff members have videotaped themselves reading stories, singing songs, leading exercises, doing arts-and- crafts and performing a Zumba routine.

To actively engage members, the staff has created challenges, such as a push-up contest, a cute-pet challenge and a sidewalk chalk art test. In the latter, the staff invites members to participate and then posts pictures or videos of their results. Each Thursday evening, the club, led by staff member Dee Lydon, hosts a Facebook Live trivia contest where members can answer questions and post comments in a fun and live environment.  

Simultaneously, club staff has actively populated the website with a wide range of fun and interesting activities, by age, so that members can stay engaged and active during the self-quarantine.  

The club also seeks to keep our members and the community informed with important links to Covid-19 updates on the local and state level.  

Furthermore, club staffers have been posting messages, with cups, in the chain-link fence at the front of the club and hanging signs of greeting in the windows overlooking the Pond at the rear of the club. Its staff cares deeply about the health and well-being of this community and wants to stay as engaged as possible while they are physically separated. 

While it is not yet known when the club will reopen, the staff continues to be paid.

The club relies on program fees and preschool tuition to maintain its financial health. To help the club during this public-health crisis, please consider making a donation to the Arlington Boys & Girls Club Recovery Fund here >> Your donations will ensure that, when the club can reopen and welcome its members back to the bright, blue building, staff will be ready with the physical care and kindness for which they are noted. Its mission to create great futures is more critical now than ever. 

This appeal was published Saturday, April 18, 2020.

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