Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA), the nation’s #1 advocate for kids and teens, launched their new Boys & Girls Clubs – Alumni & Friends Club to engage its estimated 16 million Club Alumni.

Alongside Alumni & Friends Club spokesperson Shaquille O'Neal, numerous other celebrity ambassadors, hundreds of local Boys & Girls Clubs, corporate and media partners, BGCA is calling former Club members to join the movement in building great futures for the next generation.

“Boys & Girls Clubs have impacted the future of multiple generations, with 54 percent of our Alumni saying that their Club saved their lives,” said Jim Clark, president & CEO of BGCA. “We want to reconnect with the millions of former Club kids and issue a call to action to come together as advocates and ambassadors for Clubs around the country, so that every kid in America has an open door to a great future.”

It’s estimated that one out of every 16 Americans has been a Club kid at one point in their life. In an effort to reconnect, BGCA is leveraging the power of social media and rallying its celebrity alumni and friends as part of this effort with well-known supporters like Shaquille O’Neal, Jennifer Lopez, Usher, Evander Holyfield, Nick Cannon, Queen Latifah, Victor Cruz, Michael Phelps and others encouraging their social media fans and followers and the millions of Club Alumni to join.

More than 45 of BGCA’s corporate supporters are also joining this effort long-term, with companies like Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Nestlé USA, Anthem Foundation, AT&T, Staples, Raytheon, Comcast NBCUniversal, Fox Sports, Bank of America among others engaging their combined millions of employees, as well as friends and followers on social media to join the Alumni & Friends Club and impact a kid’s life forever.

“It is imperative for all Club Alumni to come together to support kids in this country,” said Larry Young, president and CEO of Dr Pepper Snapple Group. Larry and his wife Colette co-chair BGCA’s Alumni & Friends initiative. “My Boys & Girls Club was an important part of my childhood and also taught me the importance of giving back. I’m inviting all alum to join me to help build a great future for the next generation of leaders.”

As part of the Alumni & Friends Club launch, BGCA is introducing a new PSA illustrating stories of celebrity and professional alumni, and how the Club equipped them with tools they needed to be successful adults. In a recent survey of Club Alumni, over a third (33 percent) reported that without the Club they would have dropped out of high school. Nearly 66 percent of Alumni reported that they became more committed to their education because of the Club and 64 percent said that the Club helped them improve their grades.

BGCA’s aim is for the Alumni & Friends Club to be a network of youth advocates and Club supporters committed to giving back and helping Clubs serve more members, more often, to increase the impact on kids who need the Club’s support and guidance the most. For every new Alumni & Friends Club Member joining in September, a Club membership will be donated for a kid in need.

Today, Boys & Girls Clubs serve nearly four million kids annually at more than 4,100 locations throughout the U.S. and worldwide at BGCA-affiliated Youth Centers on U.S. military installations as well as on Native lands. The organization’s vision is that all Club members graduate from high school with a plan for the future, demonstrating good character, citizenship, 21st century leadership skills and leading a healthy lifestyle. While BGCA’s reach is unparalleled, the crisis facing America’s kids remains paramount. In the U.S., every afternoon 11 million kids (one in five) leave school with no place to go, and they risk being unguided and unsafe.

“We can build a better future for our nation’s kids,” said Clark. “Who better to do that than the millions of Club Alumni whose lives were forever changed at a Boys & Girls Club? We encourage everyone, whether you are alumnus or friend, to join us and be a Boys & Girls Club member for life.”

For more information and to join the Alumni & Friends Club, go to bgcalum.org.

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