BHCC and Boys and Girls Club of Middlesex County
In 2010, the Office of Community Engagement at Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC) began a partnership with the Boys and Girls Club of Middlesex County (BGCMC) in the hopes of providing BGCMC with student volunteers to serve as tutors and mentors to the club members. BGCMC, which includes four area clubs, Cambridge, Medford, Somerville and Everett, serves school aged children between the ages of 6-18. On average the four clubs see 75-100 kids a day. The mission of BGCMC is to "enable all young people, especially does who need us the most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring responsible citizens." Many BHCC students are well positioned to serve these local communities because many students live in the communities or have first-hand knowledge of the issues club members experience. Due to this, BHCC students and club members are more easily able to build relationships and interact with one another. One BHCC student volunteer explains, "As a Boys and Girls Club alumni, I found it easy to connect with the club members, and "run" with them. When I went to the BGC Club of Lawrence, I use to be like them, I use to be wild and out of control. Because of that, I can see where the kids are coming from. When I’m at the Cambridge club, I try to think about it as if I was still a club member; I put myself in their shoes."
In the fall of 2011, 22 students in a Learning Community Cluster courses called the Psychology of Success, volunteered weekly throughout the semester with BGCMC. The following spring semester, the partnership continued to grow as another group of 10 BHCC students came on as volunteers. Over the past three years of this partnership, BHCC has consistently provided all four clubs with a steady group of volunteers from one semester to the next. Last fall (2012), 45 students from three service learning courses continued to help, inspire and prepare the BGCMC youth to be active citizens in their community.
As volunteers, BHCC student volunteers help club members with homework and engage them in extracurricular activities such as sports, knitting, dance and step. However, BHCC student volunteers efforts are not limited to the above mentioned activities, student volunteers also help the with administration support, fundraising events, special programs and much more. In fall 2012, BHCC student donated over 460 hours of service at BGCMC, impacting nearly 860 club members. Five students from the fall semester are continuing their engagement at the clubs; while a new batch of 30 student volunteers are starting their volunteer service with the clubs.
As BHCC student volunteers become role models to the club members, student volunteers are also learning the importance of civic engagement, which leads to their professional and personal development. A BHCC student volunteer commented in his final evaluation, "this experience at BGCMC has helped me to become more patient with others and how to better communicate with kids."