Tiffany Lake, a native of Tarpon Springs, is confident her five children are safe and well-cared for at the Boys and Girls Club (the Club) in Tarpon Springs. She knows the Club is also a pathway to the future for her young family.

When walking in the Club, the age range of kids may surprise you. Sure, there are toddlers to young adolescents, but there are also teenagers – an unusual age group to attend a before-and-after school program. The teenagers are trained to lead and mentor the younger children, and when of working age, they get paid for their leadership.

It looks like the Boys & Girls Club is truly fulfilling its mission:

To provide high quality out of school time, Club experiences proven to ensure our young people, especially those who need us most, are on track to graduate from high school with a plan for the future, demonstrate good character and citizenship and live a healthy lifestyle.

Working full time, Tiffany is confident that the Club is a fun place for her children’s out of school time, but it is more than that. She says, “My kids play; they do their homework. They are mentored in a way that builds character and teaches soft skills. The mentors are terrific. My youngest daughter is going into first grade; she knows all her sight words required for year-end and is reading at a second-grade level. By the time they graduate high school; they are ready to become responsible citizens.”

Improvements at the Boys & Girls Club of Tarpon Springs

Thanks to the donors of Pinellas Community Foundation, in 2019 the Club received a $15,000 Capital Improvement and Equipment grant for a new kitchen in Tarpon Springs, and about $300,000 in grants since 1985.

To Tiffany, the kitchen means two hot meals a day for her children. It also means her kids learn how to wash dishes and prepare a healthy meal. Plus, “with the hot after-school meal,” said Tiffany, “the kids aren’t starving, so I don’t have to rush around to get dinner together the second I get home. It makes life a whole lot less stressful.”

In August 2019, Freddy Williams, President and CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of the Suncoast, joined the Pinellas Community Foundation Board of Governors. The Board is looking forward to Freddy’s insights into the needs of youth and young families in Pinellas.