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Health and Life Skills

Programs & Services

Programs in this area develop young people’s capacity to engage in positive behaviors that nurture their own well-being, set personal goals and live successfully as self-sufficient adults.

(Skills Mastery and Resistance Training)
This nationally acclaimed comprehensive prevention program helps young people resist alcohol, tobacco and other drug use, as well as premature sexual activity. SMART Moves features engaging, interactive, small-group activities that increase participants’ peer support, enhance their life skills, build their resiliency and strengthen their leadership skills. This year-round program encourages collaborations among Club staff, youth, parents and representatives from other community organizations. The program’s components are: SMART Kids, for ages 6-9; Start SMART, for ages 10-12; Stay SMART, for ages 13-15; and SMART Parents. SMART Leaders, a peer leader/booster program for older teens, and F.A.N. Club (Family Advocacy Network), an educational and support group program for parents and caregivers of SMART Moves participants, are also available through a partnership between BGCA and Pennsylvania State University, which developed these two programs to increase the scope and positive impact of the original SMART Moves.

SMART Leaders
SMART Leaders is a booster program to SMART Moves. This program keeps teens involved in the SMART Moves program after Stay SMART, reinforces skills and knowledge youth learned in SMART Moves and prepares teens as leaders to help their peers resist using alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs, and postpone sexual activity. The program is available through a collaborative effort among The Pennsylvania State University, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention. Importantly, SMART Leaders is a CSAP Model Program.

SMART Girls is a small-group health, fitness, prevention/education and self-esteem enhancement program designed to meet the developmental needs of girls ages 8-12 and 13-17. Through dynamic sessions, highly participatory activities, field trips and mentoring opportunities with adult women, Club girls explore their own and societal attitudes and values as they build skills for eating right, staying physically fit, getting good health care and developing positive relationships with peers and adults. The program is now sponsored by Tupperware Brands, Inc. following a major revision in 2002 funded by The David and Lucile Packard Foundation. SMART Girls products, such as T-shirts and bags are available to order.

Passport to Manhood
Passport to Manhood promotes and teaches responsibility in Club boys ages 11-14. Passport to Manhood consists of 14 sessions, each of which concentrates on a specific aspect of manhood through highly interactive activities. Each Club participant receives his own "passport” to underscore the notion that he is on a personal journey of maturation and growth. Passport to Manhood represents a targeted effort to engage young boys in discussions activities that reinforce positive behavior. Passport to Manhood is an excellent complement to SMART Girls.

Healthy Habits
Empowering youth to eat right is a generation-changing, life-enhancing program goal, and Triple Play’s nutrition component, called Healthy Habits, covers the power of choice, calories, vitamins and minerals, the food pyramid and appropriate portion size.

Healthy Habits is the "Mind” component of Triple Play, which emphasizes eating smart and maintaining physical fitness to improve the overall well-being of Club members. The Healthy Habits program is designed to:

  • Teach young people about the benefits of healthy habits such as eating right and being physically active

  • Equip young people with skills to adopt healthier habits by participating in fun and engaging learning activities both at the Club and at home

  • Encourage young people to take small steps toward positive behavior change

Money Matters promotes financial responsibility and independence among Club members ages 13-18 by building their basic money management skills. Participants learn how to manage a checking account, budget, save and invest. They also learn about starting small businesses and paying for college. Money Matters features three components. The Teen Personal Finance Guide is a fun, attractive booklet containing practical tips and activities to help teens learn the important skills of balancing a checkbook, creating a budget and saving and investing for college and retirement. The Facilitator's Guide provides Club staff and volunteers with basic financial information and instructions for easy-to-implement small-group activities. The Money Matters Web site, offers teens an engaging online tool for building their money management knowledge and skills through interactive activities, games and tools like a savings and financial aid calculator to plan for college. The Charles Schwab Foundation sponsors Money Matters: Make It Count.