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Boys and Girls Club's Brigitte Gurden Recognized
Updated January 5, 2018 8:26 AM
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(BEDFORD) - The National AfterSchool Association (NAA), the lead organization for the advancement of after school professionals, selected Brigitte Gurden, Chief Professional Officer of the Boys and Girls Club of Lawrence County, as one of NAA's 2018 Next Generation of Afterschool honorees.

The NAA sought to highlight young professionals in the afterschool community who possess passion, creativity and a commitment to youth."The National AfterSchool Association believes that strong leadership in afterschool programs have a direct impact on child and youth development," said Gina Warner, President and CEO of NAA. "We count on these emerging leaders to help shape the next generation of the afterschool field."

Gurden is recognized with 29 other after school leaders across the nation from a field of 100.

"I'm humbled to be along the top of the best of the best," said Gurden.

Gurden said she believes the reason she and the Boys and Girls Club of Lawrence County are being honored doesn't stem from a particular program, but in the quality of what the club does on such a small budget and in making sure every kid gets something out of the programs.

Gurden started working with kids while running an urban after school program where she used musical instruments as tools to help academics and behavior in kids.

"I really got to see the difference between where they started with the bad behavior. And I'm talking little kids, like kindergarten, first and second grade with bad behavior, cuss words, you know, really high free and reduced lunch, high poverty areas. Then at the end of the year, I saw that they had better grades and they were sharing, they weren't yelling at each other, they were helping and supporting each other, and creating that community culture of support for them. That really sparked my passion for doing this work."

According to the NAA an estimated 10.2 million children participate in after school programs each year.

Gurden said that its in the after school programs where kids experience hands on learning and can get that extra help they need.

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