To 10-year-old Shirley Freeman, the Boys & Girls Club is more than an after-school program, it's a second home.
Freeman is spending her fifth summer at the club in Monterey Park and is heavily immersed in its STEM Program. For Freeman and many other students who frequent Boys & Girls Clubs across Southern California, the program allows them access to support and extra resources that their public schools may not provide.
"We serve a lot of underrepresented minorities, so they don't get this type of teaching or get to use these type of projects," said Priscilla Alfaro, a club alumna who now heads the STEM program.
And with a new partnership, the Boys & Girls Club may soon have more to give to underserved students.
NBC4 and Telemundo 52 are now teaming up with the Los Angeles County Alliance for Boys & Girls Clubs to collect school supplies for kids.
Beginning on July 17, the public can make a donation of popular school supplies at participating Boys & Girls Clubs across more than 20 locations.
The public may also make a financial contribution to provide much-needed supplies to underserved youth.
The LA County Alliance for Boys & Girls Clubs relies on donations. The staff puts in work year-round to keep its grants afloat, its corporate sponsorships intact and the community involved.
It all falls in line with a mission of keeping kids active engaged and interested by providing them with a safe place to learn.
Whether cash or supplies, the club uses whatever is donated to "pay it forward."
"We don't want the parent to stress out about having to give them a backpack for back-to-school or school supplies," Alfaro said.
The Supporting Our Schools initiative is a national effort led by the NBC and Telemundo-owned stations located in 20 markets across the U.S. and in Puerto Rico, that seeks to raise awareness about classroom needs and what communities can do to help students.