For Immediate Release

Contact: Kimberly McCoy
Director of Resource Development & Marketing 
Business: 269.926.8766
Direct: 269.363.4808

Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor to hold Teen Summit October 19-24, 2015
Clubs celebrate Lights On Afterschool and Make A Difference Day

(Benton Harbor, MI) The Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor will sponsor the Making the Connection Teen Summit the week of October 19-24, 2015 at the Joel E. Smilow Teen Center at 190 W. Empire Avenue, Benton Harbor. The Making the Connection Teen Summit will showcase a different topic each day. During the week, teen Club members will be introduced to topics through panels, discussions and interactive experiences. The Making the Connection Teen Summit will be one of more than 7,500 events around the nation recognizing Lights On Afterschool, organized by the Afterschool Alliance. The week will end with the Greatest Sale on Earth!, a community sale to benefit Berrien County foster kids, in celebration of Make A Difference Day.

The Lights On Afterschool national events focus on afterschool opportunities that allow access to every child who needs a program and the harm that results from budget cuts and freezes to these programs. Each event across the country highlights three of the significant contributions that afterschool programs make to the community: keeping kids safe and healthy, inspiring them to learn, and relieving working parents of worries about their children’s activities during the afternoon hours. 

“Effective teen programming is key to achieving our outcomes of academic success, developing good character, and encouraging healthy lifestyles,” said Brian Saxton, Chief Executive Officer for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor. “We are committed to finding the right mix of programs and instructors teens find interesting, providing help completing homework and tutors, and creating a safe, fun environment that encourages more teens to come to the Club.”  

Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey believes that afterschool programs are vital in the community, saying, “A place to feel safe and be with friends is a wish of all children in our community; an environment where they can go and just be a kid. The Boys and Girls Club is just that place.” He continued, “This program helps shape young minds and bodies. It supports and encourages positive growth in our younger generations, while ensuring positive growth for our future.”

To close the week, Club members and staff will participate in The Greatest Sale on Earth! The community sale is a partnership between the Clubs, Berrien County Department of Health and Human Services, Rock 107 WIRX, Maytag, Russ Jones Construction and Café Mosaic that benefits nearly 400 Berrien County foster kids in recognition of Make A Difference Day. USA TODAY and Points of Light have joined together to sponsor Make A Difference Day, which has been celebrated for more than two decades annually on the fourth Saturday in October. This national day of community service connects people with opportunities to serve, increases the strength of communities and promotes civic engagement.

The schedule for the week is as follows:

Monday, October 19: Drug and Alcohol Awareness in partnership with the Berrien County Health Department, 
Berrien County Sheriff’s Department, Michigan State Police and Harbortown Treatment 

Tuesday, October 20: The facts about early sexual activity with Planned Parenthood. Members will also be 
completing a service-learning project making baby blankets for new mothers in need.

Wednesday, October 21: Health and Sexual Education with a game show style discussion with health education 
topics in the format of Family Feud and Jeopardy.

Thursday, October 22: #Reallove is a healthy relationships discussion with three local couples (newlyweds, 10 
year marriage and a 28 year marriage), teaching teens about the foundations and 
maintenance of relationships.

Fri-Sat, Oct 23-24: The Greatest Sale on Earth! Inaugural Rummage Sale for Foster Kids, held at the Boys & 
Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor Joel E. Smilow Teen Center’s gymnasium (Oct 23 at 4p-7p, 
Oct 24 at 9a-4p).  

“A week-long summit exploring subjects teens want to discuss and concluding with the sale that directly benefits teens in the foster care system, helps inspire members and, in turn, transform our community. Everyone benefits,” said Saxton. 

For more information about the Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor or to schedule an interview or program visit, contact Kimberly McCoy at 269.926.8766 or

Located at 600 Nate Wells Senior Drive, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor has served the youth of Benton Harbor since 1999. The Club provides after-school and summer programs promoting educational and career development, character and leadership development, and healthy lifestyles for over 2,000 children and teens at the Fettig Youth Campus and Joel E. Smilow Teen Center. Learn more at 

The Afterschool Alliance is a nonprofit public awareness and advocacy organization working to ensure that all children have access to quality afterschool programs. More information on Lights On Afterschool is available at

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