2022 Grantee

Boys & Girls Club of Monmouth County


Food for Thought By the Sea

MISSION STATEMENT: The Boys & Girls Clubs of Monmouth County (BGCM, the Club) is a youth development organization whose mission is to empower all young people —  especially those who need us to reach their full potential as productive, caring, and responsible citizens. Our collaborating partner, Food for Thought by the Sea (FFT), is a vehicle for collaboration and change in Monmouth County, NJ. They are committed to empowering the community and creating a positive environment that fosters knowledge, confidence, and optimism

THE PROJECT: With a combined goal of strengthening the lives of children and families, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Monmouth County and Food for Thought by the Sea will support underserved teens in the community by blending mentoring, trauma-informed care, wellness, workforce development, education, and the culinary arts.

Our organizations will work together to connect teens with mentors while offering skill-building programs and experiences that reflect their passions, amplify their voices, and provide them with access to job and educational opportunities. During teen nights at the Club, our organizations will create honest and authentic relationships that keep teens engaged with supportive mentors who leverage positive youth development practices. The project will comprise direct programming while at the same time providing the FFT food truck as a mechanism for workforce development and meal distribution. As the program develops, teens will acquire soft skills for work, build social-emotional protective factors, and expand their involvement with local community organizations.

Mentors will facilitate structured programs such as soft skills work training, hospitality training, financial literacy education, and social-emotional programs. At the same time, staff will provide informal mentoring working on art projects, promoting mindfulness skills, working on the garden, and teaching culinary skills on the food truck. Our staff will work together to help youth develop goals and plans for their futures. To build trust, the program will start with a gradual process of getting to know the teens, providing meals, and engaging in exciting activities. The food truck will be incorporated as a teaching tool, as well as a fun experience, as the teens are fed during monthly events. As they gain paid work experience on the truck, they will build up to using the truck at community events throughout the year.