Out of School Time

Boys & Girls Club programs

Allison and Gary’s children have attended Boys & Girls Club programs for the past 14 years since their oldest daughter was age five. They have watched their children grow up in Club programs and recognize that the Club has made a significant contribution to the success of their family.

Even as working parents, the costs of raising six children (ranging from a 18 months to age 20) can be daunting. The Club has always been a safety net while they’re working. They know that their kids are in a safe and fun place and are receiving healthy snacks and meals. They also know their children are developing good character and gaining valuable experiences.

“The Club is so much more than just child care for my family,” said Allison. “The Club is a one-stop shop for my kids.  I’m incredibly grateful to this community for supporting my kids’ Club!”

The goal

Every school age youth is engaged in ongoing experiences that build positive life skills and support from caring mentors.

The challenge

  • Juvenile crime peaks during the hours of 3 – 6 p.m. including risky behaviors such as drug and alcohol consumption.
  • “In U.S., 1 out of every 5 students drops out of school.  High school dropouts are less likely to earn a living wage, vote or volunteers in their communities and have a greater chance of being unemployed, incarcerated, uninsured and receiving public assistance.” United Way Worldwide


  • Strategy: Recruit 1,000 new volunteers to work with area children and youth, building their life skills (3-year campaign). Step Up for Our Kids

United Way Initiatives

  • Recruitment of volunteers to work with children and youth helping them build their life skills is the key project over the next three years.
  • Creation of Connect Up Resource List of out of school activities and supports for children and youth.  Available here and used by schools, parents and providers.
  • Involvement of Child & Youth Serving Agencies educational sessions focused on mental health related topics for children and youth.  More than 50 school, health and human service providers who work with children and families have attended every session (examples of topics: signs of depression and early intervention, autism spectrum disorders, and managing disruptive behavior in youth.

Successes with Community Partners

Last year

  • 4,133 school age children and youth are active in quality programs building positive life skills.
  • 1,516 school age children and youth have a relationship with a caring mentor in their lives, guiding them in development of positive life skills.

How you can help

Visit United Way Volunteer Connection to find local volunteer opportunities and look for other ways to get involved. Look for opportunities to volunteer with children and youth in one-to-one or group settings. Get to know your local schools and the challenges they face and the very positive work they are doing with children.  Consider other ways you can get involved such as making your home a safe place for after school activities and offering extra help with homework.

Step Up for Our Kids

We all win when young people succeed.  That is why we invite you to LIVE UNITED.

  • Be a pen pal
  • Play board games
  • Help with homework
  • Shoot hoops
  • Read with children
  • Be a mentor
  • Have fun through art
  • Share your hobby

The opportunities are endless! One time, short term and ongoing volunteer opportunities with children and youth throughout Central Minnesota are available.

Child and Teen Resource Guide

The “Connect Up: Build Life Skills and Have Fun” listing of resources was developed by United Way of Central Minnesota in collaboration with Partner for Student Success.

The main goal is to connect school-age children and teens in central Minnesota with community organizations that provide positive out-of-school time options.  The listing includes organizations that provide mentors for children, tutoring, volunteer and civic engagement options and college/career readiness opportunities.

All organizations listed provide varying levels of screening and background checks for staff and volunteers within their agencies. Please contact them directly if you are interested in learning more about getting involved.