Woonsocket, R.I. (November 13, 2020) – The Boys & Girls Clubs of Northern Rhode Island has received a $35,000, two-year grant from Amgen, Inc. to fund the Club’s work in advancing racial and social justice through core and special programs at its Woonsocket Clubhouse. Amgen is a global biotechnology company with a manufacturing plant in West Greenwich, Rhode Island, and recently announced a $7.5M commitment to support racial justice and equal opportunity, where Amgen operates.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Northern Rhode Island is the area’s leading youth guidance agency for children and youth ages 5 to 18, and its mission is “to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.” At its Woonsocket and Cumberland Clubhouses and through community outreach, the Club constantly strives to provide a positive environment with programs and services focusing on three core areas – academic success, healthy lifestyles, and good character and citizenship – that are integral to Northern Rhode Island youth.
“We often look back at speeches from the civil rights movement and realize not much has changed. The current environment this year pushed social injustice and racial disparities to the forefront and sparked outrage in our youth. With that outrage, they need adult guidance to help them navigate and gain understanding. We must work together to help dismantle long standing systems, put in place to keep certain races and classes down in this country.
With this grant, we will be able to continue the work of healing a hurting community. For our youth, the lack of representation in a community can lead to long-term self-esteem and self-worth issues. Not seeing oneself in leadership positions can make one believe that “they cannot do it”, or “that it is not for them”. Together, we all win.”, Bonnie Piekarski, Unit Director of the Woonsocket Clubhouse.
“Amgen is always learning and seeking new, interesting ways to connect with our patients, partners and local communities around the world. Mutual respect and equality are core beliefs at Amgen. We remain committed to creating new diversity partners that expand the traditional and customary ways of connecting and engaging with communities. Science is what we do and drives discovery, but a deep commitment to a culture of diversity and inclusion is how we work.” Tara Urban, Senior Manager of Corporate Affairs, at Amgen.
The Club addresses social justice and equality topics by weaving them into its core and special programs, creating opportunities that specifically address these issues, and making it part of the daily conversation at the Clubhouse. During program sessions, staff and members have discussed such subjects as systematic racism, colorism, prejudice and police interactions. In addition, the Clubhouse recently ran a forum with teenaged members and local law enforcement. Youth were able to ask them a series of questions regarding racial issues and police violence, where they could feel safe doing so. As part of community outreach, staff also ran a series of members’ parent events regarding racial inequality in health care, with an entire segment dedicated to African American women’s healthcare and the high rates of death in childbirth.
“We are excited to have Amgen Foundation’s innovative and generous support, especially during this tumultuous time of racial conflict and the pandemic,” stated Club, President and CEO, Gary Rebelo. “Our Woonsocket community is rich in diversity, and its children and youth deserve opportunities that will allow them to break barriers and close equity gaps. Having AMGEN’s support will enable us to continue on our mission to help those who need it most, discuss and act upon current happenings, and present opportunities for these members to become changemakers in their community.”
On a daily basis (prior to COVID guidelines and regulations), over 170 children and youth attend programs and services at the Woonsocket Clubhouse. Because the Clubhouse is at capacity and in order to reach more kids, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Northern Rhode Island recently purchased and is renovating a larger building at 600 Social Street in Woonsocket. This new facility will have triple the capacity of the current Kendrick Street location and is expected to open in the fall of 2021.
Amgen is committed to unlocking the potential of biology for patients suffering from serious illnesses by discovering, developing, manufacturing and delivering innovative human therapeutics. This approach begins by using tools like advanced human genetics to unravel the complexities of disease and understand the fundamentals of human biology.
Amgen focuses on areas of high unmet medical need and leverages its biologics manufacturing expertise to strive for solutions that improve health outcomes and dramatically improve people’s lives. A biotechnology pioneer since 1980, Amgen has grown to be the world’s largest independent biotechnology company, has reached millions of patients around the world and is developing a pipeline of medicines with breakaway potential. For more information on Amgen, visit www.amgen.com and follow us on www.twitter.com/amgen.
About the Boys & Girls Clubs of Northern Rhode Island
The mission of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Northern Rhode Island (BGCNRI) is to inspire and enable all young people, especially those who need help most, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens. In 2018, the Boys & Girls Club of Cumberland-Lincoln and the Boys & Girls Club Woonsocket merged to create BGCNRI to enhance program delivery and increase operational efficiencies. Through the merger, BGCNRI is able to achieve the strategic goal of serving more Northern Rhode Island youth. BGCNRI has provided quality programs and outreach services in the critical areas of academic success, healthy lifestyles, and character & leadership development to help put all youth on a path to a Great Future. For more information about the Boys & Girls Club of Northern Rhode Island, visit www.bgcnri.org and follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BGCNRI.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Northern RI: Marissa Tuccelli, 401-475-0375, firstname.lastname@example.org