Tomah Boys & Girls Club awarded Great Rivers United Way Venture Grant

The Boys & Girls Club of Tomah got a boost in funding with a $1,000 check from the Great Rivers United Way Venture Grant.

This grant made is possible the BGC to open a new “Zen Den”, which is a dedicated space for members to experience different emotions. This space gives kids an quiet outlet to express how they are feeling, whether that be good or bad. Various calming tools such as weighted blankets, tactile toys, and comfy seating will be included in the Zen Den.

“BGC Tomah works to enable all young people to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens. As the Club seeks to create the experiences needed to enable all young people to reach their full potential, it is committed to building and reinforcing the social-emotional skills that can fundamentally change the trajectory of a young person’s life. Social-emotional skills are critical in everyday life, helping an individual communicate effectively, work with others, and develop coping mechanisms needed when challenging situations inevitably arise.”

Great Rivers United Way offered this Venture Grant cycle as part of its 70th Anniversary (1949-2019) celebration. Applicants were asked to illustrate how the program seeking funds would help Great Rivers United Way, and the community overall, achieve one or more of the objectives in its new strategic plan.

The Zen Den will positively impact our youngest community members (Strategic Objective #1) through social-emotional supports, ultimately resulting in a healthier and more socially-connected community (Strategic Objective #3) of adults. Two decade of research by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) demonstrates that for every $1 invested in social-emotional development programs, there is an average of $11 in returns. An explicit focus on building social-emotional skills not only prevents negative academic and health outcomes from occurring, but it equips young people with the social tools they need to successfully navigate the complexities of home, school, and work.

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