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Reshaping a High School Services Vision at the Boys & Girls Club of San Francisco
When Jay Nunez stepped into the role of Clubhouse Director at the Boys & Girls Club of San Francisco’s Columbia Park Clubhouse, he was shocked to see the amount of teens fluctuating in and around the building. Teens would walk into the High School Service Center and play video games, work on their homework, or simply talk about their day with staff. “As a former high school teacher, I was not used to seeing such freedom and flexibility and programs without any indictors of success,” said Jay.
The fluid environment at the Clubhouse can have teens socially engaged, but may have them also feeling lost. Given the fact that teens who do not participate in afterschool programs are nearly three times more likely to skip classes in school and adversely affect their academics, Jay needed a Clubhouse-wide teen vision that aligned with the plethora of program services available. “What I wanted was a framework that would allow our staff to understand the bigger picture in teen programming,” Jay said.
In November 2013, Jay Nunez applied for and received 10 free hours of coaching from SF Expanded Learning Collaborative. The SF Expanded Learning Collaborative sent consultant Oscar Wolters-Duran to provide an initial assessment of programs, as well as ongoing support. By utilizing the SF Expanded Learning Collaborative tools and resources, the Columbia Park Clubhouse was able to construct a visionary map for teen success.
Oscar helped the staff at Columbia Park by facilitating two workshops. The first workshop aimed to consolidate all the programming goals intended for teens. Because Columbia Park offers over 15 programs, the workshop was extremely helpful. “We sat in the first meeting and I was shocked to see how isolated our teen programs were in relation to our organization’s goals. It was like we were our own island,” said the Club’s Education Director Reth Meas.
The first workshop not only helped the staff truly understand the scope of services, but it helped to open a dialogue about interdepartmental collaboration. “I didn’t realize that the workshop would spark such an dialogue on collaboration. Even after the meeting, my staff stayed back in the room trying to see how they might work together on teen projects,” said Jay.
For the second workshop, Oscar worked with Jay to devise a visual model based on the initial assessment and the staff session. This new model would serve as the foundation for teen services.
In February that vision was quickly realized. With the help of Oscar, the team was able to create the “High School Passport Program,” a visual model that aligned all the programs to its intended teen-specific goals. “Once we constructed our visual, I truly understood the purpose behind my program. It’s like walking on water now,” said the Club’s Fine Arts Director, Bill Mayfield.
The team plans to present the document to teens in late February and will ask for their personal input on programming. Though there is plenty more implementation work to do, Columbia Park Clubhouse staff are extremely thrilled with the results.
Overall the support from the SF Expanded Learning Collaborative was crucial in connecting the dots. “Oscar really helped us feel connected to the work by challenging us to look beyond our own programmatic needs,” said the Club’s High School Services Director, Jordan Seiden.
The model will serve as a living document for the variant changes that make up teen identity at the Clubhouse.
This article was submitted by Jay Nunez, Columbia Park Clubhouse Director. For more information about coaching available through the Expanded Learning Collaborative, click here.