Boys Hope Girls Hope St. Louis
Gala Photos By Diane Anderson
It was a night to remember Friday at Palladium Saint Louis where Boys Hope Girls Hope St. Louis held its 22nd annual Evening of Hope Gala. Lisa Flavin and Juanita Logan served as co-chairs. Pat and Peggy Sly were honored.
Boys Hope Girls Hope St. Louis is listed in the third annual Sophisticated Giving charity register, an opportunity made possible by Stifel Nicolaus.
Who We Are: Boys Hope Girls Hope St. Louis helps academically capable and motivated children-in-need meet their full potential by providing value-centered, family-like homes, opportunities, and education through college. Founded by Jesuit priest Fr. Paul Sheridan, BHGH began operating a home for boys in 1977. Fr. Sheridan’s goal was to help children break the cycle of poverty by offering them a stable, loving home, guidance, and a quality education. Those initial goals have been expanded; currently the St. Louis affiliate is one of fifteen affiliates in the United States, with international locations in Peru, Guatemala and Mexico. Here in St. Louis, BHGH operates a boys’ home, a girls’ home, and a non-residential program administered in partnership with the Ferguson-Florissant school district.
What We Do: Boys Hope Girls Hope provides a safe nurturing home environment under the direction of a professional residential staff. We offer everything from the basics of clothing and proper nutrition to access to quality education and cultural enrichment opportunities. Our staff and volunteers lend emotional support, life coaching, and the clear communication of high expectations for personal excellence and the value of becoming men and women for others. Academic excellence is a standard expectation for BHGH scholars, who attend some of the best public and private middle and high schools in the region. Our staff collaborates proactively with school representatives to promote academic achievement, extra-curricular involvement and citizenship.
Why We Are Important: Currently Boys Hope Girls Hope St. Louis serves 15 residential scholars who live with us in our homes, 29 Collegians enrolled in post-secondary education, and 54 scholars who participate in Hope Prep Scholars Academy, our non-residential program in the Ferguson-Florissant school district. Our Hope Prep scholars receive academic and extracurricular programming similar to that of our residential scholars. We distinguish ourselves through a number of unique services and systems. We firmly believe in the value of and utilize the strategy of early intervention, welcoming 7th and 8th grade students to apply to join our program. We implement comprehensive whole-person programming, which includes not only academic guidance and support, but also character development, life skill learning opportunities, and mentor resources through programs such as our Scholar Saturday sessions. In addition, scholars participate in service-learning experiences, which take place in various capacities and through a number of local organizations. We actively seek to engage the parents of our scholars. Instead of providing these opportunities in a bubble, we seek opportunities to let our scholars’ experiences and newly-honed skills be pervasive in their home lives as well.
How We Impact The Community: The St. Louis Graduates project research (2012) indicates that 37% of low income or first generation college students still do not receive college preparatory services in the St. Louis area. For the past 40 years, BHGH has worked to provide these resources and equip our scholars with the tools necessary to attend and succeed in a post-secondary curriculum. We believe that it is through education and whole-person development that our scholars can break out of the cycle of poverty. Our program works to keep students in school through high school gradation in the face of startling statistics. High school students from low-income families drop out of high school at six times the rate of their peers from high-income families (U.S. Department of Education, 2011). We work to close this gap completely for our scholars; a circumstance a child is born into should not be a barrier to success. In addition to that drop out rate, many of those that do make it lack the financial resources necessary to stay in school. Need-based financial assistance for college from federal and state sources continues to decline, passing a greater burden to poor individuals and private supporters (Deaconess Foundation, 2011). Our efforts are important not only for the scholars who graduate from our programs, but also for their future families; post-secondary education graduates have access to higher wages, better employee benefits, career networks, and further social resources.
How You Can Help: The vital work of BHGH is made possible soley by many generous individuals, local corporations and foundations. We do not receive federal or state support. Boys Hope Girls Hope St. Louis depends on volunteers in the community for mentoring, tutoring, transportation, meals, teaching life skills, and service on committees and/or as a board member. We utilize community partners and volunteers in nearly every phase of our program. We have vested local partners: Emerson, Edward Jones, Ernst & Young, Monsanto, PlanCorp, Stifel Nicolaus, UMB, Wells Fargo and more, and continue to look for opportunities to expand these partners with volunteers, support and board members.
President: James L. Mather, Rubin Brown
Vice President: Lisa A. Flavin, Emerson
Treasurer: Kurt Heumann, United Healthcare
Associate Board Co-Presidents: Peter Schweiss, DCRS Solutions
Chanda Wade, Energizer Holdings