T H E N E E D
In September 2001, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Anaheim launched the Motel Kids Outreach Program to specifically address the at-risk population of homeless children living in motels for shelter. There are an estimated 2,000 homeless children living in one of the 75 “residential motels” in the City of Anaheim alone.
Given the challenges faced by Anaheim’s “homeless motel population,” one can only imagine the risks presented to these children living and growing up in conditions where poverty, drug abuse, prostitution, violence, and gangs are considered the norm. There is adequate evidence that supports the link between early intervention and prevention programs may buffer the long-term negative impacts.
T H E P R O G R A M
The goal of the Motel Kids Outreach Program is to provide at-risk, homeless children sheltered in motels, as well as low-income housing and most recently, children placed in foster care, with access to services and youth development programs at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Anaheim, as a means of intervention, keeping children safe and offering the hope of a positive future outside the cycle of poverty. Through this Outreach Program, motel children are offered annual membership scholarships to attend the Club and are provided complimentary transportation to and from their motel (or low-income residence) and Club facilities, six days per week. Each week, motel kids make approximately 80 to 100 visits to our Clubs.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Anaheim offers youth development program proven effective by the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Some of these which specifically address the challenges faced by at-risk youth, include; Street Smarts, SMART Girls, and Passport to Manhood. All three of these programs promote child safety, well-being, and wise decision making. These are anti-violence, anti-gang, and anti-alcohol and drugs programs. Additional enrichment programs and services available to children participating in the Motel Kids Outreach Program include:
- Power Hour – Homework assistance program
- Kid’s Cafe – Provides daily nutritious snacks
- Girl Scouts
- Ballet – Free lessons are given to any member
- Music Programs – Free guitar, piano, and violin lessons are given to any member
- Reading Club
- Computer Lab
- Nightly hot pasta meals – Donated by the Anaheim White House Restaurant
- Sports and Recreational activities