GRANTS PASS, Ore. -- You feel good about yourself when you do positive things. And there's a positive way to do everything. That's one of the mantras at the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Rogue Valley.
Students apply it everywhere.
"The club is amazing," said first grader Niko Smith.
That's Niko's mantra about the Boys & Girls Club. And there's a reason why he thinks that.
"It's providing them consistency," said Jessica King, the assistant executive director at the Boys & Girls Club. "It's providing them encouragement. It's helping kids in our community know that we believe in them and we see their potential."
That consistency is key. After students are welcomed, the program provides them with homework space or an outlet for creativity until 6:30 p.m.
"When I work long hours, when I go home, I know that the work that we're doing at the club is changing lives and impacting lives," said King.
Alex Friend, an eighth grader, feels that positivity from mentors.
"Well, if no one is supporting me then I'm just going to have a lot of self doubt," said Alex Friend. "But if people are supporting me, it makes me feel encouraged."
He's thinking about becoming a film maker. And the club encouraged him to make a short film for MLK Jr. Day.
"They push me to follow my dreams," said Alex Friend.
His brother likes the club for a different reason.
"I've made some new friends coming here," said sixth grader Leo Friend. "I used to not have as many friends."
The club is a bully free zone. And that's part of why students say they'll keep coming back.
"I like being here so much because there's a lot of things that are fun," said first grader Niko Smith. "Okay, that's all."
A day at the Boys & Girls Club after school program
When students step through the doors, they put their backpacks in a cubby and have some free time to get their wiggles out. They eat a free, hot meal and then head into assembly. There, they'll choose a one of many different activities that include fine arts classes, homework help lessons or fitness programs. Most importantly, the students are able to interact with mentors every single day.
"It changes everything," said King. "It can be the thing that tilts them toward success or tilts them toward staying in their same pattern. Having consistency and having a positive role model is what makes a difference."
All of those mentors in the Boys & Girls Club go through training multiple times a year. They learn to work with kids of all ages and even take classes about child safety.
Applying for the program
There are three Boys & Girls Club locations in the Rogue Valley. They are located in Grants Pass, Talent and Cave Junction.
Middle and high schoolers can sign up for free at all locations, but they do need to fill out a registration form. Students in grades K-5 will have to pay $25 a month in Talent and in Cave Junction. Specifically in Grants Pass, students from K-1 will have to pay $25 a week. Boys & Girls Club mentors said that there is already a waiting list for the K-1 program in Grants Pass.
You can sign up online or in person at any one of the three clubs.
For more information about that application click here.