Boys & Girls Clubs to take over YMCA college access program

As the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee continues to redirect its focus in order to overcome a near $30 million debt, the organization will transfer leadership of its Sponsor-A-Scholar program to Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee.


The program, focused on increasing college access for underserved students, will evolve into the Boys & Girls Clubs Sponsor-A-Scholar program, effective Jan. 1.

“Sponsor-A-Scholar is a tremendous initiative that has meant the difference for so many Y kids who have dreamed of earning a college degree,” said Julie Tolan, president and chief executive officer of the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee. “As the Milwaukee Y refocuses our work on the core areas where we believe we can make the most impact moving forward, we realized that current and future students would be best served by an organization of the caliber, reach and expertise of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee.”

According to an announcement made by the organizations on Thursday, the YMCA Sponsor-A-Scholar program will run through the end of 2014. The YMCA will hand all program operations over to Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee at the turn of the year.

“We are thrilled that our commitment to serving youth and reputation as a leader in college access and success programming has led to this opportunity to help more young people achieve their academic goals,” said Vincent Lyles, president and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee. “Through our network of clubs, experienced and dedicated staff, and knowledge of what it takes to prepare for and be successful in college, we are in a great position to expand our college access work to include scholars from the Y and ultimately reach other kids who are dedicated to continuing their education after high school.”

High school students enrolled in the Sponsor-A-Scholar program receive personalized academic tutoring and advising as well as guidance in preparing for the ACT and access to summer internships.

Seniors in the program receive additional support in applying to colleges and submitting financial aid and scholarship applications. Upon entering college, those students are assigned a college advisor who continues coaching them through their college experience.

Program participants are guaranteed Boys & Girls Clubs memberships and are also granted financial support toward college costs.

Funding for the Boys & Girls Clubs Sponsor-A-Scholar program comes from a spectrum of community stakeholders, including the United Way of Greater Milwaukee, the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, and the Burke Foundation.

All current program participants will be ushered into the new program in 2015, according to the organizations.

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