Collaboration in Action
Nearly three years ago, the early seeds of a partnership were planted when the national Boys & Girls Clubs of America reached out to one of their most cutting-edge sites – Boys & Girls Clubs of Garden Grove (BGCGG) – to gauge interest in a social-emotional learning initiative with Wings for Kids. The BGCGG team was interested – and we were thrilled.
Today, BGCGG and Wings for Kids are working together to build and strengthen the social-emotional skills of site supervisors and members across 12 sites in Southern California.
Why We Work Well Together
BGCGG’s mission is to enable all young people, especially those who need them most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens. WINGS works to equip at-risk kids with the skills they need to succeed in school, stay in school, and thrive in life. BGCGG has a wide reach; WINGS has a focused SEL curriculum. Together, we complement each other.
For WINGS, one of our long-term goals is to address the growing demand for social-emotional learning (SEL) by developing a network of partner schools and afterschool providers that want a comprehensive approach to SEL. “I’ve watched the requests for SEL curriculum, training, and implementation grow tenfold since I joined WINGS nine years ago,” said Julia Rugg, Chief Strategic Partnership Officer at Wings for Kids. “This work is complex and has layers, but we know how to make it deceptively simple and concrete.”
BGCGG serves 57 sites and more than 5,000 kids and teens daily. One of the largest and most diverse Boys & Girls Clubs, BGCGG believes in the power of partnership – especially enrichment partners – as a way to achieve high-quality programming. Heather White, Director of Program Development, works hard to keep BGCGG at the forefront of innovation and fidelity, overseeing the integrity of all 54 sites.
“What we have discovered is that [program] excellence starts with site supervisors,” said Heather.
At WINGS, we know that SEL starts with adults. To effectively teach social-emotional skills, you must first possess your own social-emotional skills. Adults who model emotional intelligence provide a critical foundation for trusting and positive relationships to be formed.
“It’s important that our members [students] have a strong sense of belonging. Site supervisors create this perception. So, we want to turn everything on the positive and start with proactive approaches – like kindness, empathy, teamwork,” Heather shared. Having previously used other SEL resources, BGCGG was looking for more: an evidence-based curriculum and field-tested methods.
About Our Collaboration
This fall, WINGS and BGCGG officially launched a partnership at 12 of BGCGG’s school-based afterschool programs. The partnership commenced with a kick-off event in September where we teamed up to discuss the goals of the partnership, needs of site supervisors and expectations. The kick-off also included an introduction to the Wings for Kids Learning Center – an online hub of our work with partners, providing a one-stop-shop for all of the resources partners need.
Since the kick-off, BGCGG site supervisors have been utilizing the Learning Center to:
- Work through a series of self-paced courses covering the WINGS basics and introducing them to social-emotional skills
- Participate in live instructor-led training sessions and implementation workshops
- Access resources like templates, games, and lesson plans
- Interact with SEL coaches
Our partnership is based on a great deal of learning and listening to one another in pursuit of our shared goals. Together, we’re committed to working through the challenges of how to merge the WINGS philosophy and program elements with BGCGG’s unique culture and existing practices.
“The California Department of Education is finally catching up to the vital role of SEL and is placing a high importance on SEL in afterschool. BGCGG is now positioned to be a leader in this space, having partnered with an evidence-based program like Wings for Kids, “ Heather said.
We cannot wait to share more about our partnership as it evolves and strengthens.
For more information about WINGS’ partnership opportunities or trainings and workshops,