Great Futures Start Here
A sign in the entryway of the Akwesasne Boys & Girls Club reads, “Your future is created by what you do today.” It is one of many positive messages sprinkled throughout the facility – friendly reminders to help build character and infuse a sense of purpose and responsibility into kids and teens. There are nearly 700 registered members at this club benefitting from its enrichment programs in academics, sports, arts, technology, traditional language skills, nutrition, and more.
Akwesasne, in Northern Franklin County, is home to 15,000 native community members. The Akwesasne Boys & Girls Club’s mission is “to inspire and enable all young people, especially those who need us the most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.” With 27% of Akwesasne families with children under 18 living in poverty, this nonprofit offers hope and opportunity.
“One type of program that is desperately needed in our community is summer programming with a strong academic component,” said Executive Director Jessica Cree-Jock.
A Generous Acts Fund grant from Adirondack Foundation helped to fill that need this summer by supporting a “Brain Gain” program for six to 12-year-olds. Engaging, educational activities help the kids start the new school year better prepared to build from a strong foundation of academic skills rather than losing proficiencies over the long summer break.
“It went phenomenal this year. Kids from the Mohawk School were engaged for five weeks,” according to Myra LaFrance, Office Manager.
The lessons were hands-on and tied to Mohawk culture, including making traditional splint baskets out of black ash – from pounding the logs to peeling the layers, collecting the splints and shaping, drying and weaving them. Teens also learned math and life skills by constructing buddy benches for a public park and nearby school grounds. Each bench offers an open invitation from the person sitting there for someone else to join them to play or talk.
The Akwesasne Boys & Girls Club is one of three dozen regional nonprofits to receive grant funding through our Generous Acts Fund in 2018. This unrestricted fund pools the generosity of hundreds of donors, from $25 to thousands of dollars, to support nonprofits throughout the Adirondack Region.