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Holyoke Boys & Girls Club 21st CENTURY PROGRAM:

The Holyoke Boys and Girls Club and UMass Amherst are now collaborating to run an after school program students in Holyoke who attend alternative schools.  This exciting and FREE program is based at Center for Excellence and the Club.  Any student who is at least 13 years old, and who attends an alternative school in Holyoke (Center for Excellence, NEARI, Experiment with Travel School, The Center School, DYS Transition Program at People’s Bank) is invited to join.  The purpose of the federally funded Massachusetts 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) High School Innovation Grant is to develop creative and engaging extended learning opportunities for high school students that will help to address high school, college, and workforce readiness and success.


  • School year (September 2011 through May 2012
  • Tuesdays:    2:50pm  to 6:00 pm at Center for Excellence
  • Thursdays:  2:50pm  to 6:00 pm at Center for Excellence
  • Saturdays:   10:00am to 5:00 pm at the Holyoke Boys and Girls Club


  • Summer (July and August 2012)

  • Saturdays:   10:00am to 5:00 pm at the Holyoke Boys and Girls Club

We will also have a weekend long camping trip in August!


What is the program like?


On Tuesdays and Thursdays we meet at 2:50 in the cafeteria of Center for Excellence.  First, we enjoy a snack- usually sandwiches, fruit, juice, and granola bars.  As we eat, we go over the options for the day.

On each day, students have the choice of going out on a trip or staying at the school to participate in activities.  Our trips are organized by an outdoor adventure specialist, and include activities like hiking, nature walks, rock climbing, caving, and canoeing. 

Those who chose to stay back at the school enjoy activities such as rocketry, basic carpentry (this year we have made birdhouses and bat houses), film discussions, computer art, and building balsawood structures.


On Saturdays we meet at the Boys and Girls Club at 10:00am.  Staff and students prepare a huge family-style  beakfast with omlettes, bacon, pancakes, homefries, and toast along with juice, and fresh fruit.  We eat together, and discuss the activities for the day. 

Students usually have the choice of an extended outdoor adventure trip or an activity back at the Club.  Some of our trips have included: visiting a wolf sanctuary, a lesson with falconry (where each students was able to hold a hawk!), trips to Ecotarium in Worcester, boating on the Connecticut River in a 30 foot pontoon boat, and underground caving. This year we are also working on a long-term project in Worthington, MA where students are building a log bridge and will build a cabin in the woods!

How do I join?

If you are a student at Center for Excellence, you can speak to your teach or guidance counselor, or just come to the cafeteria on either Tuesday or Thursday and speak to one of our staff.  We have a application that needs to be signed by parents, and once that is complete, you are welcome to start!

If you are from another alternative school program, you can call our Site Coordinator, Megan Grant, at 413-534-7366 extension 100 or drop by the Boys and Girls Club and ask for Megan.

HBGC provide the following opportunities:

  • After-school programming to meet the educational and social needs of Center School students
  • Provide creative and innovative programming that supports state and local learning standards and contributes to academic performance and youth development for all students (Homework Support, College Tutor Program, Mentoring Program)
  • Provide multidisciplinary activities that engage students in their learning (club tech, fitness curriculum, nutrition curriculum, robotics, etc)
  • Address the multiple needs of all young people, and their families through access to support services (Family Plus Program)
  • Create opportunities for student leadership, decision-making and civic engagement (Keystone Club)
  • Create content rich creative environment where there is a seamless integration among the arts, sciences, civics and math, language arts, etc. to engage students in their learning.
  • Small class sizes
  • Highly engaging curriculum and curricular activities
  • Extensive use of technology in the activities
  • Substantial reading instruction to improve reading achievement
  • Substantial involvement of UMass School of Education graduate candidates as interns and educational staff
  • Includes involvement from faculty from Special Education, School Counseling, School Psychology, and Social Justice Education
  • Will include on site faculty involvement in program implementation
  • The program will be fully integrated with City, County, and State services (e.g., police, probation, DYS, juvenile courts, housing authority, local community organizations) through our partnership with the Shannon Community Safety Initiative

Additional Services Provided:

  • Academic-skill development
  • Individual tutoring
  • Life-skills development
  • Advocacy/case management
  • Regular peer-support groups
  • Pre-employment training
  • School-to-work opportunities
  • Project-based Service Learning
  • Leadership development


  • University of Massachusetts School of Education
  • Shannon Community Safety Initiative
  • CareerPoint


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