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Robert Taylor Boys and Girls Club of Chicago

NCJ Number
P J Coleman; E Lahey; K Orlando
Date Published
10 pages
Publication Series
This description and assessment of the Robert Taylor Boys and Girls Club of Chicago is based on the authors' visit to the Club in 1998.
The aim of the visit was to determine whether it is possible to maintain a neutral, safe haven for children living in impoverished conditions in a neighborhood troubled by violence and crime on the border between rival gang territories. The Robert Taylor Boys and Girls Club is a public, nonprofit organization that has the mission of "building men and women, one kid at a time." The authors concluded that the Club is an unqualified success. It provides a clean, warm, safe haven for children where they can play, build strong bodies, get help with their homework, and learn how to use computers and the Internet. The younger children, ages 6-12, are allowed access to the Club from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m., and the older children are allowed to come in after 6 p.m. The Club is open 313 days a year and serves more than 300 children and community members each day. Club staff are dedicated and enthusiastic and are willing to work for low wages in a dangerous neighborhood. The Club is supported by private contributions and in-kind donations of equipment; goods; services; volunteer time; local, State, and Federal grants; and ongoing coordination with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Chicago. The Club has been a success for the community as well as for the children and youth who participate in the Club. The Club organizes community festivals and initiates projects designed to improve the appearance and quality of life in the neighborhood. One promising practice the Club uses is rewarding children for completing homework, getting good grades, playing games and sports fairly, and showing an interest in learning about new things. The rewards come in the form of access to computers, healthy snacks, trips to Disney World, paying jobs, and the use of all facilities that are available to them at the Club.

Date Published: January 1, 1999