Morgan Bogolin, director of resource development and marketing for Boys & Girls Clubs of the Gulf Coast, tells us how her organization serves and uplifts local youth and shares some exciting developments.
What does your organization do? What is its mission?
Boys & Girls Clubs of the Gulf Coast works to save and change the lives of children and teens, especially those who need us most, by providing a safe, positive and engaging environment and programs that prepare and inspire them to achieve great futures. Our mission is “to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.”
When and how was it founded, and what difference has it made in the community since then?
Our organization was founded by Sen. Tommy Gollott, Ronald Marion and Bruce Stewart, along with the Biloxi Jaycees, in 1966. We began as the Biloxi Boys Club, teaching 15 young boys how to box. In the almost 55 years that followed, the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Gulf Coast has grown into six clubs serving over 5,500 children ages 4-18 per year.
We are a leader in youth development programming and advocacy efforts for young people from high-risk environments in Hancock and Harrison Counties. BGCGC programming in academic success, character, leadership and healthy lifestyles produces the next generation of strong and productive society members.
All our active members are on track to graduate from high school with post-secondary plans, and our cumulative member GPA is 3.0. Our members volunteer in their communities and experience countless leadership opportunities that help prepare them for bright futures.
How is BGCGC different from other charitable organizations on the Coast?
We believe our strength is serving the whole child. Our programming is geared to meet the needs of young people where they are. Regardless of age, race, gender, culture or socioeconomic status, children walk through our doors to find a safe, fun environment with supportive adult staff dedicated to their success. We do whatever it takes for youth on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
What’s new and exciting with BGCGC?
Our newest initiative — Blue Entertainment Studios, or Studio Blue — uses the entertainment and media arts’ power to inspire and empower youth to lead and give them outlets for self-expression. The latest technology provides young musicians with a professional sound, and members utilize custom electronic music equipment and curriculum that prepares them for 21st-century careers.
As a kick-off for the in-house studios, the club partnered with Grammy and BET Award-nominated, Dove and Stellar award-winning artist Sir the Baptist to release the single “Can’t Help Myself” featuring Boys & Girls Clubs of the Gulf Coast, MC Lyte, Estelle, Ann Nesby, Syleena Johnson and Saint Ashleey. Club members were featured in the official music video, which was shot at BGCGC Qatar Center in Pass Christian with Sir the Baptist. The song has reached over one million streams and 40,000 views on YouTube!
The first official album produced by Studio Blue is set to release this month. Young people selected to be on the album are mentored by Sir the Baptist and his company, Tymple. They have the opportunity to produce, write and express themselves through singing and rapping. Concepts and topics allow youth to have a platform to tackle social issues, current events and personal strife.
What’s coming up for BGCGC that you’re excited about?
We are super excited about our specialized program offerings for young people on the Gulf Coast. In addition to Studio Blue, our athletic programming, ESA SPORTS, kicks off a new sports league every six weeks. These leagues help youth to learn the balance between sportsmanship and competition. The focus is on creating well-rounded scholar-athletes, not just kids who play sports. Young athletes in the program learn good character and work to adopt a healthy lifestyle while playing the sports they love.