Kiwanis, Boys & Girls Club join to raise grades

ALBANY — The Boys & Girls Club of Albany and Dougherty County have received the distinguished State Program of the Year Award from Boys & Girls Clubs of Georgia for their Bringing Up Grades (B.U.G.s) program, according to Club Director Ed Deming.

The program originated with Kiwanis Club International, and the award was presented as a symbolic gesture of appreciation to the Kiwanis Club of Dougherty County at its meeting on Monday.

The B.U.G.s program which, according to Deming, is a system for success through personal goal-setting, was introduced to the local Boys & Girls Clubs through the local Kiwanis two years ago by Dorene Parker, Kiwanis’ president at the time.

“She became aware of the program through the Kiwanis International and was convinced we needed it here in Albany,” Deming said.

According to the Boys & Girls Club, the program has three goals: To encourage students to raise their grade in one subject by one letter grade in a grading period, while maintaining their grades in their other subjects; to improve their attitudes about school and to boost their self-esteem through goal setting and achievements.

In the two years the program has been in place, 70 percent of participating students has been successful in achieving that one letter grade improvement, Parker said.

According to Parker, the program is “extremely popular” among club members. Kiwanis Club volunteers serve as “B.U.G. captains,” Parker said, explaining the program to members new to the system.

“We offer them incentives,” Parker said. “We have parties with ice cream or cupcakes at the end of a grade period for those who have raised their grades. Kids don’t like to be left out.”

One reason the program is successful, according to Parker, is that members who are better in their subjects are available to help those who aren’t.

“At the beginning of a period, we raise a banner,” Parker said. “We encourage club members to put sticky notes up on one side of the banner that say the classes where they need help and the classes they’re good in. Then the kids can find each other and get the help they need.

All the Boys & Girls Club centers are helpful in bringing up the grades of members, Parker said. Club members are not allowed to participate in any club activities until all their homework is done.

“Clubs are geared to structure these children into our future leaders, Parker said.