The Boys’ Club of New York Summer Superheroes Literacy Program

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The Boys’ Club of New York’s Superhero-Themed Literacy Program Trains Teens to Mentor Younger Members

Summer Superheroes: Teen mentor with his young mentee

One Explorer's favorite part: "Reading!" His second favorite: "Writing!"

After piloting the program in 2012, BCNY’s literacy mentoring program Summer Superheroes, has been implemented at all three clubhouses. The program, developed last year by BCNY’s education staff, combines literacy skill-building with teen-child mentorship using superhero-themed activities.

Summer Superheroes was developed to help prevent summer learning loss in reading for BCNY’s Explorers, the organization’s youngest members aged 6 – 9. The program also provides training and encouragement to teen members aged 13 – 20 new to youth development. Teens receive training to become mentors, and are paired up with an Explorer with whom they work on literacy and recreational activities, continually supported by experienced teachers and full-time youth development staff.

Once the program begins, the trained teens are paired up with two Explorers each, and work with them throughout the summer, meeting twice a week to complete literacy-building activities that are presented in the context of comic book-superhero challenges. As the Explorers progress, they earn additional superpowers, sidekicks, and other superhero accessories and tools.

And the boys are loving it. David, 14, has been working with Christopher, 7, for three weeks. David has benefited considerably from several of BCNY’s academic programs, and wanted to find a way to give back to BCNY. Having enjoyed working with his aunt at her daycare center, Summer Superheroes seemed like a great fit. For Christopher, David’s mentee, it’s all about having fun. He invented his own superhero, the Mask Magician, who can leap tall buildings, among other talents. Recently, Christopher earned a sidekick after completing a particularly difficult writing exercise. When asked his favorite part of the program, he exclaimed “Reading!” His second favorite? “Writing!”

About The Boys’ Club of New York
The Boys’ Club of New York is committed to nurturing, mentoring and guiding boys and young men to prepare them to reach their fullest potential. Throughout its 137-year history of youth development, The Boys’ Club of New York has combined a single-minded focus on boys and young men with a unique, multi-disciplinary approach that prepares them for a fulfilling and meaningful adulthood. The Boys’ Club of New York accomplishes this through an approach that includes music and arts programs, social and recreational activities, academic support and athletics.

By introducing boys to new ideas, expanding their interests, developing their hobbies, providing a safe and nurturing environment and offering ongoing counseling and mentorship, the Boys’ Club of New York helps shape boys and young men into the best men they can be.

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Helen Frank
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