A Message from our Executive Director & CEO

March 22, 2021: Statement From BCNY Executive Director & CEO

Asian American communities are under attack. The horrific murder in Atlanta of eight people, including six Asian American women, is the most extreme recent act of racist violence. Hate crimes targeting Asian Americans, especially women, have surged across the country over the last year, including in New York City. These are not isolated incidents, however, and can’t be wholly blamed on the Trump administration’s inflammatory rhetoric. The roots of this hate lie in the legacy of racism and slavery that predate the country’s founding, and the resulting xenophobia that led to the Chinese Massacre of 1871, the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, the World War II internment of Japanese Americans, and the ongoing bigotry and violence toward Muslims and South Asians after the attack on the World Trade Center.

As Queens Congresswoman Grace Meng said this past week: “Our community is bleeding. We are in pain. And for the last year, we have been screaming out for help.” Yet, while she and other AAPI leaders repeatedly spoke out about increased incidents of anti-Asian discrimination, their warnings were largely ignored, leaving people vulnerable to attacks like the one in Atlanta.

We must grieve for those who have been murdered, but the time for empty platitudes is over. It is time for all of us to step-up, speak out, and act. BCNY has been proud and privileged to be part of the Flushing community for thirty years. Ron and our team at the Abbe Clubhouse have done an exemplary job providing an impactful program and developing a safe and supportive community that has served and empowered our members.  We are enraged to see our members and their families under attack. Our obligation is to channel our anger by engaging and mobilizing for action that will help ensure their safety and address the root causes of white supremacy and racist violence.

Wishing you peace, and gratitude for every day,

Stephen Tosh
Executive Director & CEO
The Boys’ Club of New York


November 25, 2020: Statement From BCNY Executive Director & CEO

This is the time of year we pause to consider all that we are grateful for and express our appreciation. It has been a tumultuous year for everyone and tragic for many, and in times of uncertainty and trauma, we are especially grateful for what is steadfast.

Over our 145-year history, the Boys’ Club of New York has worked in partnership with our communities to create a supportive environment that nurtures the talent and spirit of the next generation of leaders and engaged citizens. We have been steadfast, true to our mission, a reliable source of comfort in a discomfiting world. I am grateful for our storied role in the complex mosaic that makes New York City so special. Grateful for our incredibly caring, creative, resilient staff, and for our circle of committed friends and supporters. And, especially, I am proud and grateful for our boys and families.

But there are opposing forces at work that threaten the safety, security, and life chances of our BCNY members. So as we consider our many blessings, we pledge to work tirelessly on behalf of our members as advocates for equity, inclusion, and opportunity. Our boys and young men have a voice and must have a place at the table. The future is uncertain, but it is incumbent upon us to ensure it is an improvement upon the past. While it may be true as Dr. King says, that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice,” history shows us that achieving justice requires commitment, resilience, and collective action. This is our work at BCNY.

I am grateful every day for the work that we do to help our boys develop the competence, confidence, character, and connections to reach their dreams.

Wishing you peace, and gratitude for every day,

Stephen Tosh
Executive Director & CEO
The Boys’ Club of New York


September 24, 2020: Statement From BCNY Executive Director & CEO

Members of the Louisville Police Department murdered Breonna Taylor. The facts of the killing are well-known. While nothing can bring her back to live her life, the court system had the opportunity to exercise its authority, but abdicated its responsibility and protected the police officers. While this is a travesty and may be hard for some people to believe, the killing of Black and Brown people by the police has been happening for so long with no repercussions, it is clear that this is how the system was designed to work.

At BCNY we help boys and young men navigate the world with confidence, competence, character, in connection with the world around them. Like Breonna Taylor and so many others, our boys deserve the security that is supposed to be provided by the authorities. However, it is clear that they are in constant danger and cannot count on the protection of the police and the court system. In fact, they are often targeted by the police; certainly, the sordid history of stop & frisk in New York City makes that clear.

This is another tragic day in America. Coincidentally, it is a day after the anniversary of the unwarranted acquittal of the two men who brutally murdered Emmitt Till in 1955. We must come together and fight for change!


Stephen Tosh
Executive Director & CEO
The Boys’ Club of New York


May 29, 2020: Statement From BCNY Executive Director & CEO

The Boys’ Club of New York (BCNY) condemns the killing of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police, and Armaud Arbery’s murder while jogging in Atlanta; the most recent acts in a brutal legacy of violence and mortal danger faced by Black men in this country.  We equally abhor Breonna Taylor’s murder by the police in Kentucky, a continuation of the sordid history of violence against Black women on our soil. BCNY offers our condolences and stands in solidarity with their families, and we demand bold political leadership to end the cycle violence as well as a swift response from the criminal justice system.

 

BCNY strives to empower our members to develop their skills, character, and confidence to achieve their goals. Through effective programs and a supportive community, BCNY has always been a place for boys and young men to know they are safe, seen, and appreciated. There can be no peace, however, in a world where boys and young men of color are targeted and live in fear. We will continue to ensure that our members have the tools they need to navigate the profound challenges they face outside our doors, and we will join with them as advocates and social justice champions in our clubhouses and in the larger community.

 


Stephen Tosh
Executive Director & CEO
The Boys’ Club of New York

 


May 5, 2020: A COVID-19 Update

Our city continues to see encouraging signs. While they remain in the danger zone, hospitalizations, ICU admissions, and positive tests are trending down. These positive indicators can be attributed to social distancing efforts, and we must continue to prioritize safety by heeding orders from our public health officials. Of course, the number of deaths remains tragic, and many of us have lost friends and family members. There is still a long way to go, and our immediate focus remains the same. While online programming and emergency fundraising are our current modes of action, they represent a response to present circumstances and will not define the post-COVID BCNY. 

To move forward, we will have to pivot once again and begin to assess and plan for a future we are still trying to define. We must come together (remotely) to begin transforming BCNY. This will require collaboration, initiative, and imagination. Certainly, there are significant components of our pre-COVID BCNY that will remain relevant, and there are probably aspects of our crisis response that should be adapted. Our mission, core values, and vision for our members must be examined and tested. We must move beyond sentiment and history to face our reality with clear eyes and open minds. Our success in meeting this challenge will define BCNY’s future and, more importantly, the life chances for this generation of our members. I am confident we can do this successfully, and, as we have said many times, our members deserve nothing less than our best. 

When I announced we were selling the Harriman Clubhouse, we committed to expanding our services to Brooklyn and the Bronx. We are currently exploring two exciting expansion opportunities that will give us the opportunity to create BCNY specific programming for boys and young men. I look forward to sharing more on these initiatives once the details have been finalized.

In closing, this statement from Arundhati Roy, in her recent article in the Financial Times, hit me hard. “Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next. We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks, and dead ideas, our dead rivers, and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.“

Onward,


Stephen Tosh
Executive Director & CEO
The Boys’ Club of New York

 


April 20, 2020: A MESSAGE FROM OUR EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR & CEO

Over the last five weeks, our program staff members have been working hard to stay connected with our members and provide critically needed support and assistance. We are all excited about the recent rollout of our virtual program offerings, which promises to bring exciting and engaging material to our boys and young men. 

I am also excited to announce a new publication, The Boys’ Beat, which will be written by our members and designed to foster a sense of community and ownership. In this time of physical distancing, we can remain connected in a variety of creative ways. I look forward to continuing The Boys’ Beat as part of our core programming when we reopen our clubhouses.

In the meantime, here are a few additional updates:

  • With the schools closed, BCNY clubhouses and Beacon remain closed.
  • The city has announced that DYCD funded youth programs will not operate this summer. BCNY’s summer program options remain contingent on the course of the pandemic, the amount of testing, and public health recommendations. 
  • If onsite programs are not possible this summer, BCNY will continue remote programming, with the schedule and content to be determined.
  • The NYS Parks Department is still planning for Harriman State Park group camps to operate this summer, although they have delayed access for cleanup and set-up to May 15. We are monitoring the situation through regular contact with Parks Department administration.
  • The primary factor driving decisions to reopen the clubhouses, Harriman Base Camp, and administrative offices will be the safety of members and staff.

The situation remains fluid and uncertain, and some decisions are out of our hands. We remain committed to our members, and while I expect there will be serious challenges and tough decisions ahead, I am optimistic about our future, in large part because we have such a talented and dedicated team. 

We are BCNY. 


Stephen Tosh
Executive Director & CEO
The Boys’ Club of New York

 


April 6, 2020: A MESSAGE FROM OUR EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR & CEO

Throughout our city, BCNY, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies are stepping up to offer support and connection to people in-need of every age. While our clubhouses are temporarily closed, our staff is on duty, working diligently to provide mentoring and other opportunities with one goal in mind: to be there for our boys and young men. Our mission—to empower boys and young men—continues.

Our members and families rely on the supportive and nurturing community we offer. It is difficult not to be able to provide a physical space—a safe haven—during this time. While the shutting down of schools was a necessary decision, it comes with a deep personal cost to our members and their families.

Along with missing school, our boys yearn for the personal connections and mentoring that go way beyond academic lessons. They also miss the opportunities to move, create, lead, and connect, which are core to their BCNY experience. To mitigate the repercussions our boys are experiencing during this time of physical distancing, we are developing a virtual learning platform and finding creative new ways to engage with them.

The situation remains fluid, and there is no way to forecast a post-COVID-19 NYC. As uncertainty about the future prevails, we are also using this time to create a plan for a BCNY that will be even more impactful and sustainable. Our mission to engage, challenge, and inspire our members has never been more vital and critically important.

I am convinced that we will reassess, re-envision, and recreate a BCNY that is primed to move forward and more robust than ever before. I look forward to providing additional updates in the coming days and weeks. Life as we know it is changing, but one thing will always remain the same: we are stronger and better together.

Until then, continue to stay safe and be well.

Onward and upward,


Stephen Tosh
Executive Director & CEO
The Boys’ Club of New York

 


March 16, 2020: A MESSAGE FROM OUR EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR & CEO

Dear BCNY Community,

Now that NYC DOE Schools are officially closed, BCNY is also closed. Our clubhouses are tentatively scheduled to reopen Monday, April 20, 2020.

The decision to close our NYC schools and BCNY was a difficult one, but I believe the right one. Our number one priority is the health, safety, and wellbeing of our members, staff, and the greater BCNY community.

This is an unprecedented time for our city, nation, and the world. Please know that we will remain in communication with you in the coming days and weeks as we manage the news around this ever-evolving health crisis. We will consistently share updates as they become available.

We will all lean on and learn from one another as we face this new normal together.

Stay safe,


Stephen Tosh 
Executive Director and CEO
The Boys’ Club of New York