CLEVELAND — Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Ohio has big plans for its future.
The organization on Monday officially announced plans to double the number of children it serves by 2025, expanding its already significant reach of 49 sites across five counties in the region. The initiative launched with a special party at the BGCNEO Broadway Club in Cleveland, featuring guests like U.S. Rep. Shontel Brown as well as mascots from the city's sports teams.
To celebrate the launch, BGCNEO debuted a new "fight song for Cleveland" entitled "The Land," performed by Chagrin Falls rapper Brit Fox and Avon Lake's Chad Hoffman. The music video displays highlights of sports glory from Cleveland's past and present, and features vocal cameos from star athletes Myles Garrett, Kareem Hunt, Darius Garland, and Katie Nageotte.
Watch the full video below:
The BGCNEO says all three of Cleveland's major professional sports teams (Browns, Guardians, and Cavaliers) were involved in the video production and at the debut event.
While BGCNEO is currently one of the largest Boys & Girls Clubs in the United States, CEO Allen Smith says the group is currently able to serve less than 10% of kids who need their help. According to a survey, 54% of Boys & Girls Club alums said the free recreation centers "saved their lives."
Studies have shown children are most at risk during the afterschool hours.
"It is our hope the community will rally in support of our kids," Smith said. "Our model is proven and effective, but we will need additional funding to reach more kids in more places. We believe doing this will create stronger communities and dent the cycle of poverty. When they send their kids to the Club, working parents have peace of minds knowing they will be safe."
You can contribute to BGCNEO's initiative to double the number of kids served by 2025 by clicking here.