Back To School With Boys & Girls Clubs Of America! #Tools4BTS @BGCA_Clubs

*This post was written by me on behalf of Boys & Girls Club of America.  All opinions are 100% mine.

My boys with legendary basketball player Shaquille O’Neal.

    This morning, my boys and I had the pleasure of attending the Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA’s) Wake Up Call Back-to-School Kick Off event in New York City.  The event was supported by JCPenney and aims to motivate kids to be prepared for academic success this school year.

    The event took place in Foley Square and we had the opportunity to see legendary basketball player Shaquille O’Neal participating with students in a unique obstacle course.  We stood with students on the sidelines cheering our teams onto victory and, each child who participated in running the obstacle course, received an honorary diploma.  Shaq and Mommy O’Neal also sounded the alarm to signal the start of the Back-to-School season.

Shaquille O’Neal arriving to signal the beginning of the Back to School season.

    My boys also participated in running the obstacle course and it meant a lot to me because I want them to be excited about starting off the school year in September on a positive note.  To lend to the excitement, Radio Disney talent, Coco Jones, performed for all of the kids and conducted some giveaways.

My oldest son starting the Back to School obstacle course.

    As an educator, I fully appreciate the contribution that the Boys & Girls Clubs make to the lives of children who live in the inner city much like my own students. I was very happy to have the opportunity to interview Chad Royal-Pascoe who is the National Vice President of Corporate Partnerships for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.  It was evident that he is very passionate about supporting young people and academics.

My son preparing his clothes for Back to School in the obstacle course.

    Chad shared with us that the goal of the Boys & Girls Clubs is to teach kids how to achieve academic success, instill corporate citizenship, and promote healthy lifestyles.  These keys to success are taken into consideration when programming activities that are age appropriate for all the children who attend.  Additionally, after school services are available to promote great study habits and prioritize academics.  This time is referred to as “Power Hour.”

Shaquille O’Neal running through the Back to School obstacle course.

    Children are also taught about how to make healthy food choices to keep their minds and their bodies sharp at all times.  This coupled with an emphasis on the importance of staying in school and having an individual plan to graduate from high school promotes an overall awareness of the path to personal, professional, and academic success.

My younger son overlooking the obstacle course.

    According to studies that have been conducted to measure the impact these programs and support have on club kids, members have been proven to have a higher graduation rate than their non-club member counterparts.  A large percentage of kids who attend the Boys & Girls Clubs credit them with having saved their lives.  There is an overwhelming amount of evidence proving that being a member of the club makes a significant difference in the life of each individual child.  Just ask Shaquille O’Neal who is an alumni of the Boys & Girls Club!

     You can find out about and support your local Boys & Girls Club by liking them on Facebook and following them on Twitter.  After all, our young people hold the key to our future and it is our responsibility to care for them and to show them the right path…

Disclosure:  I was invited to this event by Boys & Girls Club of America as a member of the media.  There was no other compensation for writing this post and all opinions expressed are 100% my own.

© 2013, Tough Cookie Mommy. All rights reserved.


  1. I really like this organization. They do such great things.

  2. I was invited to this event in Atlanta and wasn’t able to attend. This organization really does help a lot of kids.

  3. kSquaredGlamour says

    this is such a great organization! we use to have one right next to our house.

  4. Frugal and Fun Mom says

    What a neat event, and it sounds like your boys had a good time. So cool that they got a picture with Shaquille O’Neal!

  5. Marlene Martinez says

    what a great organization !!! I love when these kind of organizations help our children’s educaction

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