The Better Boys Foundation

The Better Boys Foundation is an organization based on Chicago’s that provides a variety of out-of-school programming for boys and girls aged 5 through 18. I first became aware of them through a client who had worked on an arts program with the organization. I was impressed by the range and depth of services and programming provided.

For kids aged 5 through 12, BBF provides academic support, mentoring, and recreational and cultural activities in addition to daily meals, transportation from school to the program site and from the site to home each day.

Youths aged 13 to 18 can participate in one of a broad suite of stipend-based apprenticeships — from the mechanical to the artistic — while receiving customized academic support. Students participate in group activities addressing social, emotional, health/fitness and recreational needs. Field trips and community service activities are also planned. Youth graduating from high school are eligible to apply for a BBF Memorial Scholarship for college study or vocational training.

With arts support in schools being steadily eroded, it’s important to support organizations like BBF that cultivate talent and curiosity in art, not just as a hobby, but also as a viable career.