Jewish Congregations for Social Justice ~ Racial Justice Speaker Series
Michael Johnson, renowned inspirational speaker and Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County (BGC), will speak to the Jewish community about the education gap in Dane County and the BGC's initiatives to keep kids in school and get them into colleges.
Michael Johnson currently serves as President and Chief Executive Officer for Boys & Girls Clubs of Dane County. The vision of the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County is to inspire and empower all young people to reach their full potential as productive, responsible, and caring adults. Johnson’s priority is to ensure BGC continues to be a leader in youth development through working with local partnerships to produce positive outcomes for young people and their families.
Boys and Girls Club of Dane County offers an array of programs for youth ages 7 to 18. College Club is a college prep program for 1st through 12th grade students that is built on a foundation of academic monitoring, tutoring and case management. College Club creates a space and a platform that validates students and their life experience and focuses on topics like goal setting, college entry, understanding financial aid, career development and life skills. Through a partnership with Madison Metropolitan School District, Boys and Girls Club programs have produced graduation rates of over 90% for five consecutive years in a row with more than 82 percent of their students currently enrolled in local colleges and universities.
STAR (Saving to Achieve Results) Credit Union’s mission is to instill financial literacy and responsibility by providing access to financial services. Homework/Tutoring time is scheduled into after-school programming. Club members have the opportunity to work with certified teachers, volunteers and club staff to get their homework assignments completed.
Creative & Performing Arts (CAPA) program enables Club members to realize and develop their talents and skills in creative, performing, and fine arts through creative learning activities and experiences. BGC’s Summer Camp Program provides youth with the opportunity to participate in positive, fun-filled activities. They also receive daily meals, a summer literacy program, and weekly field trips that will provide them with exciting summer experiences. Kids who attended the 2014 summer camp program rose to the challenge of defying “summer learning loss” and read over 50,000 pages and 1,000 books.
BGC is fighting against grim statistics from Race to Equity: A Baseline Report on the State of Racial Disparities in Dane County. In 2011, Dane County’s African American third graders were 4.5 times more likely than their white classmates not to meet reading proficiency standards. African American youth in the Madison Public School District had about a 50% on-time high school graduation rate, compared to 85% for white students. Black 12th graders were only half as likely as white 12th graders to take the ACT exam. Of those taking the exam, African Americans averaged a score of 18, compared to a white average of 24. After accounting for the relative size of the black and white enrolled students, data indicates that suspensions from Dane County public schools were 15 times more likely to involve a black student than a white student.
On January 14th presentation for Jewish Congregations for Social Justice, Michael Johnson will expand on BGC’s successes and the challenges in the Dane County community. For more information the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County go to their website www.bgcdc.org/
The Jewish Congregations for Social Justice is a joint project of the social action committees of Beth Israel Center, Congregation Shaarei Shamayim, and Temple Beth El. We work together to expand our capacity for social action, build new connections, and provide a Jewish volunteer presence in the larger community.
For more information about Madison’s Jewish Congregations for Social Justice see our website at jewishcongregationsforsocialjustice.org.