“Play Connects” Impacts … Boys & Girls
Club of Stamford
June 19, 2012 | The Toy Industry
Foundation’s (TIF) Play Connects program invites Toy Industry
Association (TIA) member companies from across the nation to nominate
charities in their own communities to receive grant funding. In 2011,
four nominated charities were selected to receive $10,000 each to help
at-risk children through play, education and mentorship programs. Over
the course of the summer, Toy News Tuesday will be profiling
the charities that received grants to showcase how the funds are making
an important difference in children’s lives.
Nominated to receive TIF grant funding by Becker Associates, LLC,
$10,000 grant winner the Boys
& Girls Club of Stamford, Connecticut is a dedicated youth
facility that has an annual membership of more than 1,000 Stamford-area
children, with 200-300 kids attending the club each day. Since 1927, the
organization has offered after-school and youth development programming
for children aged 6-18, inspiring confidence and a sense of belonging.
Currently, fifty-three percent of the kids at Stamford B&G Club live
in a single-parent household, and 95% percent of these children come
from low-income households.
In late May, representatives from TIF and TIA visited the club to
learn more about “Project Learn” – a B&G Club
program that is utilizing the Play Connects funds from TIF to improve
the academic standing of club kids by exposing them to alternative
learning methods that build self-esteem and improve attitudes towards
schooling. [View photos from the
“While most after-school programs in the area are strictly
recreational, Project Learn teaches children through play,” said
Marisa Medina, Toy Industry Foundation Manager. “During our
visit we were excited to see how the grant funding they received from us
has been used to enhance the Boys and Girls Club’s successful
program. The children were happy, engaged, and learning together while
playing with fun toys and games.”
The program’s alternative learning methods include a daily
homework “power hour” to complete and review assignments
along with the following high yield learning activities that vary
depending on the day of the week:
- Monday: Math is the main focus, with games such as Numbers on My
Mind, Smath and Math Dice.
- Tuesday: Kids play reading and literacy games, including Scrabble,
Boggle, Pathwords and Spelling Bee Bingo.
- Wednesday: Children are encouraged to engage with science and brain
teaser games, such as Immersion Learning, Chess and Science Club.
- Thursday: Kids unleash their creativity with arts & crafts
- Friday: Traditional board games that promote bonding and fun are
played, such as Clue, Monopoly, Othello and Connect Four.
“The Play Connects grant has provided our children with a
fun and engaging learning experience that supported our Project Learn
initiatives,” said Mike Cotela, Executive Director of the Stamford
B&G Club. “Each day after school, children are eager to
participate in the Game Club as a way to improve their academic
learning. We are grateful to the Foundation for helping us expand our
program through this very generous grant.”
The 2012 Play Connects grant cycle is now open; the nomination
period closes on August 15, 2012. Each TIA member company (full or
associate) in good standing can nominate one community-based charity. Up
to three grant recipients will be chosen by a committee comprised of
members from the TIF Board of Trustees. For more information, visit
the Toy Industry Foundation website.