Why one Harvard MBA pursues career to narrow opportunity gap

November 20, 2015 - We always knew it but now the word is out: our Executive Director Peter Fortenbaugh was honored this month by the Mid-Peninsula Media Center as a Local Hero. The award shines a light on those who devote themselves – often out of the limelight – to making our community a better place to live.

BGCP Receives $300,000 Grant from Thrive Foundation for Youth

Award will support BGCP’s work in positive youth development field

October 30, 2015 -BGCP was awarded a $300,000 grant by the Thrive Foundation for Youth to support the Foundation’s mission of guiding disadvantaged young people ages 10-18 to reach their full potential by strengthening the presence and impact of caring adults in their lives. BGCP was selected along with six other youth-serving organizations from around the U.S., based on its proven track record of directly impacting youth in the communities it serves, collaborating with local schools and demonstrating an interest in growth and scaling. The two-year, unrestricted grant will support BGCP’s work in the field of positive youth development.

“We are honored to partner with the Thrive Foundation for Youth and with our fellow grantees, and are thankful for Thrive’s generosity,” said Peter Fortenbaugh, Executive Director of BGCP, “Together, we can amplify the impact of our work, learn from each other and ultimately touch the lives of more young people in need.”

Thrive selected grantees whose work emphasizes establishing relationships between paid staff, caring adults and individual youth. “We are excited about working and learning with this new group of grantees to forward our mission. We are also humbled to now be in partnership with fifteen of the premier organizations across the country who are guiding disadvantaged youth to reach their full potential,” said Kelley Gulley, Interim Managing Director of the Thrive Foundation for Youth. “We are confident that BGCP will make valuable contributions to our research, evaluation and innovation efforts at the foundation, and will benefit from the expertise and knowledge of our staff.”

Collectively, Thrive’s new grantees will impact the lives of over 25,000 youth annually, who live in low-income communities throughout the United States. The grant period will run from 2015-2017. This is Thrive’s second cohort of grantees.


Founded in 1995 by Silicon Valley investor Bob King and his wife Dottie, the Thrive Foundation for Youth supports young people during pivotal years of their lives – ages 10 to 18 – in reaching their full potential.  Thrive’s mission is to guide disadvantaged youth to their full potential by strengthening the connection and impact of caring adults in their lives.  Thrive believes in the combined power of applied research and on-the-ground practice to make tangible difference in the lives of young people. Our scientific research is dedicated to answering the question: “What helps a young person to thrive?” Our active partnerships with youth-serving organizations are dedicated to putting that knowledge into practice, and to changing as many lives as possible throughout the country.

For more information, visit www.Thrivefoundation.org.


BGCP Members Explore Yosemite Through a Different Lens

September 25, 2015 - Every summer 12 middle school members have the opportunity to be part of a wonderful program called “Parks In Focus”. Parks In Focus gives our youth the opportunity to explore the outdoors and be able to appreciate nature through photography. Parks In Focus creates the opportunity for our members to broaden their horizons and experience photography in aunique way.

Students along with their mentors take a break from photographing to enjoy the scenery and pose for a picture of themselves

Students along with their mentors take a break from photographing to enjoy the scenery and pose for a picture of themselves

To see more photos of the students and the photographs they captured click on the links below:

Highlights by the students: https://flic.kr/s/aHskjBGMYE
Highlights of the students: https://flic.kr/s/aHskjJLcqF


Boys & Girls Clubs Program in East Palo Alto Enriches Teen Summers

July 20, 2015 - The struggle by kids in low-income communities in the Palo Alto area to keep up in school is often undermined when school’s out, in what teachers call “the summer slide.”

The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula is out to turn that slide into gains, in both academics and in sparking student engagement in critical and creative thinking about careers and productive lifestyles. From K-5 all the way to high school.

This year’s Teen Summer Program hosted at the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula East Palo Alto clubhouse exposes students to professionals in diverse business sectors and the arts. Summer in the EPA program means experiencing new people and ideas in the real world where success has been created.

What they learn is brought to life in field trips to “places where it’s happening” such as Palo Alto Medical Foundation, LinkedIn, and Facebook. These highschoolers are getting a personal feel for career tracks ranging from physical therapy to computer science.



BGCP Launches New Program in Partnership with Google and BGCA

June 22, 2015 - In summer 2015, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula (BGCP) launched CS First, a pilot computer science program in partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) and Google.

CS First is a video-based program that promotes creativity and innovation using concepts learned in basic computer science. CS First offers multiple “clubs” or themed lesson plans based on students’ interests, including storytelling, social media, game design, sports, art, and fashion design.

Every year, 600 students participate in BGCP’s STEM program where they are presented with pivotal resources and experiences at elementary, middle, and high school grades. These students, living in the shadow of Silicon Valley’s success are underrepresented in STEM careers. Through exposure to STEM and developing critical skills, students are able to make proactive choices about STEM as an education and career pathway.

CS First will be built into BGCP’s larger STEM program continuum as a coding elective. The program is designed to  build confidence in learning basic computer skills, perseverance, critical thinking. In addition to the new curriculum, BGCP has three AmeriCorps VISTA members working to support the implementation of the program.

CS First will be offered at all school and clubhouse sites throughout the 2015-2016 program year. For more information or to get involved please email us at volunteer@bgcp.org.


BGCP Celebrates 102 High School Graduates

               Alumnus, Lydell Cardwell, encourages graduates to dream big

               Alumnus, Lydell Cardwell, encourages graduates to dream big

June 22, 2015 - On June 11th, the graduating class of seniors of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula (BGCP) were honored at a graduation celebration on Facebook’s Menlo Park Campus. Students’ families, BGCP staff members and community leaders celebrated the accomplishments of these graduates, many of whom will transition to first-generation college students in the fall. This year, 102 BGCP seniors graduated from high school ready for college or career.

Lydell Cardwell, BGCP alumnus and graduate of Azusa Pacific University, addressed the graduates, encouraging them to be humble, take chances and remember to “S.W.A.G.” (Show the World All your Greatness). He also encouraged students to dream big, but set goals: “I want you all to have dreams! But, like Denzel Washington once said, ‘Dreams without Goals……are just dreams.’ So dream big, but also have goals! Yearly goals, monthly goals, even daily goals… Remember that discipline and consistency stand between your goals and achievement.”

Cardwell was followed by speaker and poet and Nate Howard. Howard founded Movement BE, a non-profit organization that helps young people discover their story through spoken word poetry. Using poetry and spoken word, he encouraged students to “tell their own stories”  in a powerful message about breaking through challenges and  dreaming big despite adversity.

    Redwood City Mayor, Jeff Gee, congratulates graduate Crystal V.

    Redwood City Mayor, Jeff Gee, congratulates graduate Crystal V.

The members were honored by community leaders from their respective cities. Mayor Jeffrey Gee of Redwood City celebrated the graduates reflecting on how they can improve their communities as the future leaders and community members of Redwood City. Drew Combs, Menlo Park Community Leader and Facebook Employee encouraged the Menlo Park graduates to remember the moment and enjoy the rewards of their hard work. Finally, East Palo Alto’s City Council Member, Larry Moody, celebrated the programs at Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula and encouraged the students to Be Great.

“Tonight we celebrate 102 youth who have worked long hours and did not give up despite the many challenges that they encountered. Their ambition, work ethic, perseverance, and resilience is motivating. Keep going. We hope this is just a beginning. Their decision to continue their education is commendable, and we wish each of them success in college,” said Peter Fortenbaugh, Executive Director of Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula.


Giving Back: LinkedIn Employees Coach BGCP Youth at inDay

May 20, 2015 - On Friday, May 15th, BGCP was honored to be a nonprofit participant in LinkedIn’s InDay, a monthly event where LinkedIn employees are encouraged to ‘invest’ in themselves or the community. The theme for this InDay was “Giving Back”, hosted by the LinkedIn for Good team.

The morning started with a virtual pen pal project where younger BGCP students filmed video questions for LinkedIn employees. LinkedIn volunteers filmed responses, thoughtfully answering questions such as “What surprised you about your career path?” “Who was your role model in middle school?” and “What do you like most about working with LinkedIn and what do you do?”.

The afternoon brought BGCP alumni to LinkedIn for a career coaching session where alumni, many just graduating college, learned about how they can leverage LinkedIn to explore different career paths. After a brief presentation, alumni participated in 1:1 breakout sessions with volunteers where they polished their profiles and learned about available tools to aid in their career search.

The event culminated with a “Career Night” where 35 current BGCP teens had the opportunity to learn about various careers at LinkedIn, take professional head shot photos, practice elevator pitches, and build or update their LinkedIn profiles. Most importantly, each teen was paired with a LinkedIn employee for the entirety of the event, building networking skills and making great connections.

BGCP is grateful for LinkedIn’s continued partnership. inDay is one of many examples of how LinkedIn supports the youth of our community. Thank you to all of the LinkedIn volunteers who “EngagedIn” on inDay!

Hear from some superstar LinkedIn volunteers about their inDay experience:


BGCP Thanks Ross Stores

May 13, 2015 - BCGP would like to thank Ross Stores Foundations for their partnership in supporting our youth. Ross sponsors both the Power Hour Program and the Youth of the Year Program.

Power Hour is a one hour homework support program where mentors provide tutoring and homework support:

Each year Ross also sponsors our Youth of the Year Program, providing professional outfits for each of the finalists. Below are some before and after pictures of our finalists:


Girls’ Day Inspires Youth to Explore STEM Fields

April 20, 2015 - Girls’ Day 2015 paired 68 girls, grades 5th-8th, with 40 female adult mentors in a one‐day program exploring Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) careers through fun, hands‐on, engaging workshops. Girls’ Day is designed to inspire and empower middle school girls to explore STEM‐related career fields by pairing them with women in STEM career paths who participate with and guide the girls through four interactive, engaging STEM‐themed workshops. The event was held on April 11, 2015 at Microsoft’s campus in Mountain View, CA.

This year’s theme, What Drives You?, encouraged girls to explore their “sparks” as they mapped their future goals with their mentor. Girls’ Day provided each participant with 3 engaging workshops from building a motor to strawberry DNA extraction. The keynote workshop, Find Your Drive, was led by Stanford d.school students and provided a framework for girls to understand the concept of motivation, explore their passions, set goals and plan for their future.

Girls’ Day Successes

  • 68 girls, grades 5th-8th, attended Girls’ Day
  • 40 mentors, participated in Girls’ Day, providing 280 hours of quality mentoring for our youth
  • 94% of girls were able to identify a STEM career in which they were interested
  • 100% of volunteers reported, time constraints aside, they would be interested in volunteering with a Girls’ Day event in the future

This event would not have been possible without the support of our volunteers and partnerships with Gilead Sciences, Microsoft, Tesla and Stanford.


BGCP Increases Summer Academic Achievement

October 13, 2014 - 1,100 members from 1st-12th grade were engaged in various learning and enrichment opportunities at our BGCP clubhouses and school sites this summer!

Elementary youth spent eight hours each day on our partner school campuses. For three hours each morning they developed core math, literacy and science skills through small group math instruction led by certified teachers. Every afternoon, they participated in electives enriching their skills in everything from healthy cooking to coding. Click the photo to the right to view a video of the summer in action.

Middle school members benefited from our partnership with Aim High, an organization focused on providing outstanding summer school for middle school students. These members received academic instruction in math, science, and humanities from teams consisting of both Aim High and BGCP staff.

High school teens were engaged at our Teen Center, where they were pushed to identify their motivations to achieve academically and develop plans to overcome obstacles. They explored career pathways that sparked new passions and fueled their motivation to be successful. Youth participated in daily sessions consisting of career-focused core classes including video production, law enforcement, and entrepreneurship. During evening classes, students celebrated their creativity with rotating activities that included visual arts, poetry, bike mechanics, among several others. Selected juniors and seniors gained first-hand exposure to world class companies LinkedIn, Google, and DLA Piper through our elite corporate apprentice track.

Here is a snapshot of our summer results:

  • 1,100 students consistently attended our programs at least 3 times a week for 5 weeks (800 elementary school, 200 middle school, 100 high school students)
  • 88% of elementary school students avoided summer learning loss in math, 82% in reading
  • 80% of elementary school students increased math proficiency
  • 90% of students reported they felt safe, built positive relationships, built skills, and had fun
  • 100% of high school students created LinkedIn profiles and received training on professional networking
  • 90% of rising freshmen prepared for high school by setting goals, clarifying motivations, and identifying strategies to overcome obstacles
  • 45 high school students visited DLA Piper, Google & LinkedIn 10 times to learn about career options.
  • 2 alumni participated in 12 week internships at LinkedIn
  • 400 families attended end-of-summer showcases


Congratulations to our 8th Grade Youths of the Year!

February 25, 2014 - McNeil Family Clubhouse member, Rebeca S. was selected as BGCP’s 8th Grade Youth of the Year on Wednesday, February 19th at the McNeil Family Clubhouse in Menlo Park.

After spending months writing their speeches, collecting letters of recommendation, and preparing for interviews, four Youths of the Year represented their program site at BGCP’s 8th Grade Youth of the Year celebration.

BGCP’s 2014 Youth of the Year finalists were:

  • Anna G. from Center for a New Generation at Hoover Community School
  • Olga F. from Moldaw Zaffaroni Clubhouse
  • Anysleydi R. from Center for a New Generation at Belle Haven Community School
  • Rebeca S. from McNeil Family Clubhouse

Every Youth of the Year shared her story of resilience and achievement in front of over 100 guests and a panel of judges, which included Gloria Hernandez, Superintendent at Ravenswood School District; Rick Williams, CEO of The Sobrato Family Foundation; Ramón Baez, Senior Vice President and Global CIO of Hewlett-Packard; JonWoodruff, Managing Director at Goldman, Sachs & Co; and Shelly Esque, Intel’s VP of Corporate Affairs.

After a difficult decision, the panel of judges selected Rebeca S., an 8th grade student at Belle Haven Community School, as BGCP’s 2014 8th Grade Youth of the Year for her willingness to help others, volunteer, and be a leader both in the classroom and at the Club.

Congratulations to all of our 8th Grade Youths of the Year for their hard work and determination!

Thank you to all of our community partners and judges for making the Youth of the Year program possible.

A special thank you to DLA Piper for helping our youth write their speeches and prepare for the interviews.


Sheryl Sandberg Inspires BGCP Members to Lean In

January 5, 2014 - “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” That was the question 30 high school girls were asked by Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, who came to speak and share her story of success with the Boys and Girls Club of the Peninsula. The author of “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead,” spoke to our students about the self-doubt that still holds many women back from achieving leadership roles today.

Many of our students spoke out about their fear of public speaking, as well as their reluctance to speak up in class for fear of being wrong. Sheryl encouraged the girls to do the following homework assignment in hopes of helping alleviate this worry.

• Speak Up: It’s ok if you’re wrong. The fact is that you tried and you learned.

• Ask for help: Don’t be afraid of not knowing the answer. The only way to find out is to ask.

• Speak out in friendships: Peer pressure is difficult. It’s ok if you don’t want to do what you friends want you to do.

After the presentation, Shontelle, a junior in high school and BGCP member, mentioned what she got out of meeting Sheryl. “There are a lot of challenges girls in my community face,” she said. “I have five younger siblings that I help my mom take care of and it can be a lot of pressure at times. Sheryl inspired me to embrace that pressure – to be a leader and role model for my siblings and everyone around me.”

BGCP would like to thank Sheryl for taking time to talk and encourage our BGCP members. BGCP looks forward to having Sheryl at the Youth of the Year event in February.


BGCP Members Stand Up Against Bullying

October 28, 2013 - October is Anti-Bullying Awareness month, see how BGCP members are standing up against bullying.

Change is never easy, especially when it comes to social issues. But when we come together, our voices will be heard. At BGCP, our teen members made this a reality by writing the song “Hold Your Head Up Child”. Our elementary members also contributed their voices by creating a music video to drive awareness and give hope to youth that face bullying on a daily basis.

Often, bullying is overlooked and the detrimental impact it has on youth goes unnoticed. With social media outlets so easily accessible, kids are able to bully each other with the click of a button. We need to address these issues by educating our youth and ensuring they feel safe at and away from school.

Every school day, 1,600 U.S. students stay home in fear of being bullied. Four out of 10 children will drop out of high school this year alone. To add to these troubling numbers, one out of four kids is bullied and 30 percent of U.S. students in grades six through 10 are involved in bullying.

By spreading awareness and providing support for anti-bullying initiatives, we can bring these numbers down.


A Day of Impact with Oracle Sales Academy

October 28, 2013 - BGCP members had a great time with the Oracle Sales Academy at Santa Clara University. Oracle, a longtime friend and supporter, invited BGCP to meet their employees, build relationships, and have fun. At the end of the day, there was a BIG surprise of new bikes for BGCP members!

Thank you Oracle for making a great impact on our youth. We enjoyed getting to know the Oracle Sales Academy employees, learning about college and careers, and having fun with you!