For 93 years, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan (BGCSM) has served the children in countless communities. Now it is expanding its programs to include adults and offering co-working spaces.
The idea is part of its annual Friendship Club Reimagine Showcase and kicks off a two-year campaign to reimagine BGCSM.
BGCSM will be the first Boys and Girls club to provide co-working spaces.
The plan will be piloted at the Club’s Dick & Sandy Dauch Campus. Besides co-working spaces it will include a test kitchen, laundromat, and a barber shop salon.
According to the website the pilot costs are estimated to be around $750,000. So far it has raised more than $500,000 from rapper Big Sean and Phil Cooley, founder of Ponyride and Slows BarBQ, as well as the United Way for Southeastern Michigan.
“Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan is proud to launch the first-ever adult membership to the local community,” says Shawn H. Wilson, president & CEO of BGCSM. “We are grateful for all our supporters including social entrepreneurs Sean Anderson and Phil Cooley, who have recently given $100,000 each in investment that help reimagine the club in order to keep up with the demand in our communities. We aim to empower our members to become change agents for their life, club, and communities.”
Before you picture a bunch of forty-somethings playing Red Rover, the adults will have different uses for the campus. They will now be able use spaces they are not used for youth programs. They will have free reign of the campus until 3:30 p.m. when kids start to show up. After that, they are confined to the workspaces, test kitchen and laundromat.
The new program will be implemented this fall with pre-registration for adult memberships already available on the BGSW’s website. Adult membership is $40 a month.
To ensure the safety of the children more cameras have been added to make sure no unauthorized people are on site.
While there will be access to basketball courts, the big draw is the co-op work space and incubator for entrepreneurs.
There is a desire to use these businesses to get kids more involved in community business. Adding adults and co-working spaces opens the door for young people to talk with entrepreneurs and learn how they can follow in the same footsteps if they choose. There are also plans for business classes.
“We want to expose kids to what it means to be an entrepreneur,” says Wilson.
He says one alumna already taking advantage is a current MSU student, who developed hair care products while in high school. She plans on using the club to begin her business.
With business on site, Wilson says the goal is to offer young people employment with the new companies as well as teach them how to start their own businesses.
In addition, the entrepreneurs will be able to form business relationships within the community, using it as a springboard.
Families are also taken into consideration. Parents starting businesses, part of the ever-growing army of freelancers, will be able to be close to their kids while working on their businesses.
If the BGCSM program works well, it will be introduced to the Club’s other seven campuses in the region and then shown-off to the rest of the country.
“Every great organization has to evolve,” says Wilson.
Each year Boys and Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan serves nearly 13,000 young people between the ages of 6 and 18 to its Clubs and school-based sites.
Wilson says when he tells people what he does many of them are quick to respond that they were a “club kid.” Many alumni return to volunteer at the Club helping new members reach their full potential.
Top picture: Rendering of co-working space at the Club’s Dick & Sandy Dauch Campus.
Editor’s Note: This small business feature is sponsored by Bank of America. To learn more about Bank of America’s many programs and resources for small business owners visit:https://www.bankofamerica.com/smallbusiness/business-financing.go.