Keeping Kids Outdoors, But Off the Streets

Reinventing the Outdoors contest: Learn about this week's featured organization, The Boys & Girls Club of Albuquerque and Rio Rancho.

UPDATED! Launched on Monday April 4, GOOD and the 2011 Ford Explorer will be devoting six weeks to the Reinventing the Outdoors Contest, which showcases amazing organizations like this one that are redefining the way we live, work, and play outside. Check in every day for a new story about the people, celebrities, and programs behind each organization. Help your favorite group win the $50,000 grand prize by voting for them starting Monday, May 16 through Friday, May 20.

Walk into the Boys & Girls Clubs of Albuquerque & Rio Rancho after school any day of the week, and “it looks like madness on a small note,” says Director of Operations Rene Clark. In the gym, kids are laughing as they play a hybrid game of basketball, football, and soccer that they invented themselves. Other children are whipping up healthy snacks in the kitchen, while outside, teens are in a rugby scrimmage and littler kids are poking around in a pond for tadpoles.

It’s a vibrant scene full of actively engaged children who might otherwise be getting into all sorts of trouble. Originally founded in 1951, the clubs were the solution by the police and local business owners to a growing problem of juvenile delinquency in the area. Kids were vandalizing local stores, stealing hubcaps off cars and wandering around unattended and bored, so adults contacted the national Boys & Girls Club organization (which today has over 4,000 clubs in all 50 states), and put together a local chapter to get the children busy and off the streets.

Now with two facilities—one in the Heights neighborhood of Albuquerque, and one in Rio Rancho—these clubs serve almost 1,500 kids aged 5 through 18 each year. Three-quarters of these kids come from single-family homes and more than half are from homes classified as low and poverty income level households. In other words, these are children who are underserved and at-risk.

Every weekday from 7am to 6pm during the school year and throughout the summer, children tumble through these clubs, served by only seventeen staff members and a bevy of eager volunteers. From homework assistance and physical fitness activities to healthy habits education (including nutrition, personal wellness, and drug resistance training) and arts and crafts, the programs focus on keeping kids active and learning—and happy.

Look at the children, and the results speak for themselves. “One little girl was with us since she was six,” says Clark. “Her parents were drug abusers and she was locked up in her bedroom most of her life. Now, she’s 14, outspoken, and a straight-A student. She says that if it weren’t for the clubs, she wouldn’t have developed properly. She really didn’t have family until she came to us.”


Four black women, Engineers Christine Darden and Mary Jackson, mathematician Katherine Johnson, and computer programmer Dorothy Vaughn, worked as "human computers" at NASA during the Space Race, making space travel possible through their complex calculations. Jackson, Johnson, and Vaughn all played a vital role in helping John Glenn become the first American to orbit the Earth.

They worked behind the scenes, but now they're getting the credit they deserve as their accomplishments are brought to the forefront. Their amazing stories were detailed in the book Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly, which was later turned into a movie. (Darden was not featured in the movie, but was in the book). Johnson has a building at NASA named after her, and a street in front of NASA's Washington D.C. headquarters was renamed "Hidden Figures Way."

Keep Reading Show less

Between Alexa, Siri, and Google, artificial intelligence is quickly changing us and the way we live. We no longer have to get up to turn on the lights or set the thermostat, we can find the fastest route to work with a click, and, most importantly, tag our friends in pictures. But interacting with the world isn't the only thing AI is making easier – now we can use it save the world, too.

Keep Reading Show less
Good News
Courtesy of John S. Hutton, MD

A report from Common Sense Media found the average child between the ages of 0 and 8 has 2 hours and 19 minutes of screen time a day, and 35% of their screen time is on a mobile device. A new study conducted by the Cincinnati Children's Hospital published in the journal, JAMA Pediatrics, found exactly what all that screen time is doing to your kid, or more specifically, your kid's developing brain. It turns out, more screen time contributes to slower brain development.

First, researchers gave the kids a test to determine how much and what kind of screen time they were getting. Were they watching fighting or educational content? Were they using it alone or with parents? Then, researchers examined the brains of children aged 3 to 5 year olds by using MRI scans. Forty seven brain-healthy children who hadn't started kindergarten yet were used for the study.

They found that kids who had more than one hour of screen time a day without parental supervision had lower levels of development in their brain's white matter, which is important when it comes to developing cognitive skills, language, and literacy.

Keep Reading Show less
via KTVU / YouTube

The 63-year-old Oakland-Alameda Coliseum, currently branded the RingCentral Coliseum, is one of the most decrepit sports venues in America.

The home to the the NFL's Oakland Raiders (until they move to Las Vegas next season) and MLB's A's, is notoriously known as the Black Hole and has made headlines for its frequent flooding and sewage issues.

One of the stadium's few positive aspects is its connection to public transportation.

Keep Reading Show less
Hero Video
via Anadirc / Flickr

We spend roughly one-third of our life asleep, another third at work and the final third trying our best to have a little fun.

But is that the correct balance? Should we spend as much time at the office as we do with our friends and family? One of the greatest regrets people have on their deathbeds is that they spent too much of their time instead of enjoying quality time with friends and family.

Lawmakers in the United Kingdom have made a significant pledge to reevaluate the work-life balance in their country.

Keep Reading Show less