With prejudice and violence continuing to cause problems in schools and communities nationwide, studies show many young people have hate-related words used against them at school and are often exposed to hate-related graffiti.
While parents play a critical role in helping their children develop positive attitudes about diversity, they cannot do it alone. Community programs can have a significant impact.
Recently, Boys & Girls Clubs of America announced its national rollout of “Youth for Unity,” an interactive program designed to build the ability of local Boys & Girls Clubs to help young people better understand diversity and combat prejudice, bigotry and discrimination.
The program, available to some 4 million young people at more than 3,700 Boys & Girls Clubs locations, incorporates activities for youth, peer-leadership programs and resources for parents.
“Youth for Unity delivers perspectives and skills that will help youth adapt and thrive in a diverse society,” said Judith J. Pickens, senior vice president for program and youth development services for Boys & Girls Clubs of America. “The Youth for Unity program is one of many ways Boys & Girls Clubs of America continues to provide vital youth services in response to our nation’s shifting demographics.”
In a 2005 survey of Boys & Girls Clubs members, 50 percent of respondents said they believe their parents would not approve if they dated someone from another race, religion or ethnic group. Ten percent of students ages 12 to 18 reported that someone at school had used hate-related words against them, and 33 percent had seen hate-related graffiti.
The Youth for Unity program is part of a larger Boys & Girls Clubs of America diversity initiative funded by a $4.5 million commitment from The Allstate Foundation.