Boys & Girls Club of the Northern Plains Helping Youth Learn Language, Literature via SDHC Grant

A young reader studies a book at the Boys & Girls Club of the Northern Great Plains. The club is conducting a book club reading program this summer funded by an SDHC grant. 

Reading Program Spans Three Communities

Boys & Girls Club of the Northern Plains in Brookings is conducting an SDHC grant-funded program this summer to help youth participants learn more about language, literature, diversity and inclusion.

The club's Intergenerational Diversity and Inclusivity Book Club is a multi-faceted program funded by a $6,000 major grant approved by the SDHC Board of Directors in November 2020.

"This program is bringing different generations together in three different communities in South Dakota on an incredibly important topic — diversity and inclusion," said Kelsie Slovek, project director and Quality Assurance and Training Director at the Boys and Girls Club of the Northern Great Plains, Inc.

Program Culminates with Book Club Event Aug. 9

The club project spans three locations: Brookings, Moody County, and Yankton. Club members and community members will participate as book club pen pals over the summer of 2021, with each book club group reading two books. The program will culminate with the Intergenerational Diversity and Inclusion Book Club event on Aug. 9, 2021 via Zoom.

Youth will meet their pen pals during the Zoom event, monitored and facilitated by club staff. The young readers will speak with their pen pals about their favorite book, what they learned, and how it will guide their future decisions.

"The Intergenerational Diversity and Inclusion Book Club was made possible by the SDHC because we were able to purchase enough books for our members in the program as well as their pen pals," Slovek said.

The project is part of a larger initiative established by the Boys & Girls Club for 2021.

"This year at the Boys & Girls Club of the Northern Plains, we are focusing on creating a sense of belonging through inclusion and recognition," Slovek said. "This book club helps us progress in that goal because it gives youth a chance to discuss the topic with adults that have a different viewpoint – this is also beneficial for the adults."

Students from Boys and Girls Club of the Northern Great Plains read as a group. The club is conducting a reading program this summer funded by an SDHC grant.

Members of Boys and Girls Club of the Northern Great Plains read as a group. The club is conducting a reading program this summer funded by an SDHC grant.

The humanities scholar for the project is Nicole Biever, who has an M.A. in English and is Assessment/Grant Specialist at South Dakota State University in Brookings.

She will consult with the staff creating the program and connecting with book club groups throughout the project. Biever will also help each book club get connected with the community members who will engage with the youth as pen pals.

"The books chosen will be based on the reading level of the youth participants and will help both parties gain more knowledge of language and literature, genre, historical context, and diversity and inclusion while giving each member a chance to see literature from the perspective of another generation," Slovek said.

"Through the intergenerational diversity and inclusion book club, we plan to achieve the humanities' goal of celebrating literature, promoting civil conversation, and telling the stories that define our state."

About Boys & Girls Club of the Northern Plains

The Boys & Girls Club of the Northern Plains, Inc. (BGCNP), with locations in Brookings, Moody County, and Yankton, has a mission to inspire and enable all young people, especially those who need it most, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens. The mission is achieved through programs focused on our three priority outcomes: academic success, good character/leadership and healthy lifestyles. The goals of BGCNP are to ensure communities have a safe, positive and affordable option for youth and families during non-school time. For more information about the organization, visit www.greatfuturessd.org.

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