The Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida (BGCNF) and Jacksonville-based Project SOS are merging into one organization to serve youth through in-school life skills training and after-school programs aimed at teens.
“We are excited about this merger,” said Pam Mullarkey Robbins, Project SOS founder and CEO. "We will continue to reach youth through our proven programming in the schools, and now we will be able to encourage teens to continue their lessons by participating in after-school programs offered by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida, and positively impact nearly 15,000 teens a year."
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida and Project SOS complement one another in mission and operations to serve youth and teens. BGCNF serves nearly 5,000 youth in after-school programs, and Project SOS serves over 10,000 youth annually through in-school programs.
Locally, Project SOS has helped reduce the teen birth rate by 64 percent, juvenile crime by 35 percent and drug and alcohol use by 28 percent, according to the Florida Departments of Health and Juvenile Justice. According to data from the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, one out of every four teens leaves school with no place to go.
"Both organizations work to enhance lives to ensure a brighter future for youth in northeast Florida, and by merging, our community resources will be maximized and used more efficiently," said BGCNF President and CEO, Paul Martinez. “Project SOS serves students during their school days and the Boys & Girls Clubs serves youth in the afterschool space, and, through our collaboration, we will reach more students to make a greater impact.”