NOVEMBER 30, 1943
NEW YORK, Monday—At the present time we are all concerned with the questions of juvenile delinquency. It is interesting to have a report of one of the national agencies which can greatly contribute to the solution of this question.
Boys Clubs of America, Inc., has been for more than fifty years one of the leading agencies working with boys and now has 250 clubs throughout the United States, which have a membership of over a quarter of a million boy members. Ex-President Hoover is president of the board of directors. Mr. J. Edgar Hoover has recently become a member of the board, and Mr. David Armstrong is executive director.
Recognizing their responsibility since the war, they have inaugurated a new five-point program.
One—to increase their boy membership and to establish new clubs in crowded areas.
Two—to include more activities in the regular program so as to offer a wide variety of interest to boys from six to eighteen.
Three—to increase the guidance offered to individual boys.
Points four and five deal with increasing the interest and support of the public, so that the above objectives may be achieved and that there may be more cooperation with all other agencies working along the same lines. They stress particularly the home, the church, the school and the other social agencies. This is a program, of course, which aims to prevent delinquency so that we shall not need to reform young criminals.
They are planning to keep their clubs open during the after-school and evening hours and there are no membership restrictions of age, race, creed or nationality. In industrial areas, club buildings will be opened for young workers coming off the graveyard shift. Activities for older boys, such as dances and teen age canteens, which will include the girls, are being increased. I wish that these last activities would spread to all of our school buildings as well.
Yesterday's papers noted that a number of young girls from rural areas are drifting into New York City and that nothing is being done to look after them. A program where they could go with other young workers for decent entertainment would be a help.
I believe that, if one could find the right women as hostesses in these clubs and schools, much could be done. Someone in whom young people would confide easily and who has a sympathetic understanding of the problems facing youth today, might save many a youngster from hard and devastating experiences.