Join Hands began with Girls Club many years ago in the spring of 1990. A year later our Boys Club began. Today our youth programming still includes that original Girls Club and Boys Club based at the Roosevelt housing development in East St. Louis. We also now have a Girls Club and Boys Club based at the Ubuntu Center in the Orr Weathers housing development in East St. Louis, High School Big Brothers and Big Sisters programs with Priory and Nerinx High School teens, and as volunteer power allows other classes and offerings for youth such as Cooking, Yoga, Martial Arts, Athletics and Music Lessons, including Irish Music and Dance through a partnership with St. Louis Irish Arts. Our youth programming typically serves children 8 years old through 8th grade. We currently serve approximately 70 children with 85 volunteers.
Our youth programming provides activities to children from East St. Louis, Illinois, to entertain and challenge them and to temporarily take them out of their often harsh environment. Our volunteers act as “big sisters” or “big brothers,” friends to the boys and girls, encouraging their self-image and self-esteem, encouraging them to grow and develop in order to reach their full potential. The focus of our youth programming is relationships with the children, so they will know they are loved and know their huge potential. Our youth programming begins the relationships we hope will continue with our Dream Path Program.