Through the Eyes of Mike Simpson
Most people have a common misconception of an organization such as The Boys and Girls Clubs of Collin County (BGCCC). It is more than just a place children can go after school, throw around a basketball for a while and leave. It is so much more than that. The BGCCC is the premier after school and summer program for children 5-18, whose parents are looking for a safe nurturing environment where they know their children will be served by a trained professional staff while they are at work.
Former Frisco Texas Mayor, Mike Simpson who is the CEO of The Boys and Girls Clubs of Collin County walked me through a day in the life of a child that is a member of this organization. The BGCCC has over 2,600 members throughout Collin County, but with their after school, summer and outreach programs, they impact the lives of 7,000 youth annually.
First and foremost, each child who is a member is picked up from their school by one of the 21 BGCCC buses across Collin County going to 70 different schools and six communities in the cities they serve. The buses then takes them to their onsite location in Frisco, Plano and McKinney. Upon arrival, the children receive a balanced meal and then work with the Education Directors on one hour of homework time called “Power Hour”. They receive a snack later in the day after starting the education learning activities. The Boys and Girls Clubs of Collin County concentrates on three core areas: 1. Academic Excellence, 2. Building Character and Leadership and 3. Health & Life Skills. One program called S.M.A.R.T Moves, is a nationally recognized program of the Boys and Girls Club of America. S.M.A.R.T stands for Skills Mastery And Resistance Training. This program is designed to help kids stay away from drugs, alcohol, smoking, bullying and other dangerous behaviors. The organization also has teen centers that provide the young and older teens a way to give back to their community through projects they develop. Youth between 13 and 18 have specific programs that are conducted daily and teach the importance of giving back to their communities. They participate in activities such as helping at local senior centers and libraries or adopting a street to keep clean. Mr. Simpson noted that of the BGCCC members that come through their doors, 100% of their kids advance to the next grade level, 100% of their seniors graduate High School and go on to attend college or enlist in the military, and there are no members in the juvenile justice system.
Mike Simpson, as most know, was the former Mayor of our great city of Frisco from 2002-2008. While serving as Mayor, he was very involved with the Frisco branch of The Boys and Girls Clubs of Collin County, called the Bob and Joy Darling Branch. He would go work with the kids, attended their graduations, Christmas parties, and other special events throughout the year.
When Mike concluded his term as Mayor, he saw there was an opening for CEO to the Boys and Girls Club of Collin County and wanted to apply. In May 2012, he became the CEO of an organization he has always had passion for. He stated, “Seeing how this organization can impact these children’s lives is why I do this.”
And although, the organization has had great success, impacting over 7,000 kids annually, Mr. Simpson urged much more work needs to be done and goals to reach. For example, the Frisco branch has a goal to add a full gym to their facility for the kids. Currently, there are gyms in the Plano and McKinney branches, but none in the city that has the fastest growing school district in the country. The gym will allow Frisco to add many more children to the club. In addition, there is a program to renovate the Teen Centers in both McKinney and Plano.
More help is always needed and appreciated. Of the members of The Boys and Girls Clubs of Collin County, 60% of the kids throughout the county, live with a single parent. Of those same kids, 61% are on a free or reduced lunch program in their schools. Anyone who has donated to this organization should note that for every $1.00 that is given, 82 cents will go directly towards the kids. Capital One, Coca-Cola, Toyota, Baylor Scott & White Hospitals, Hall Group, just to name a few, are companies that have served as proud donors to The Boys and Girls Clubs of Collin County. Each year, there are numerous fundraising events held to support the BGCCC, as well as on-line donation programs, throughout the year. For more information on how you can donate, please visit: https://www.bgccc.org/donate/
Mr. Simpson hopes The Boys and Girls Clubs of Collin County will continue to grow in different cities such as Allen, Melissa and Prosper, in order to help every child in need possible.