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Mr. Bill keeps our youth safe with after-school programs

September 28
03:00 2017

By Busta Brown
For The Chronicle

“For the past 30 years that I have worked in this field, I’ve witnessed firsthand the many ways that after-school programs give students opportunities to explore their interests and discover their passions, while giving parents the peace of mind that comes with knowing their children are safe and supervised, with engaging, educational activities, during the afternoons. I look forward to continuing to raise awareness and support for the out-of-school-time opportunities all students need.”  

Those are the words of Bill McClain, a very dedicated and humble man of God. He’s the executive director for GIDE (Guiding Institute for Developmental Education), a nonprofit organization that enhances the education and life-long learning for underserved youth and their families. GIDE currently provides services to more than 250 students and their families at five sites: Cleveland Avenue Homes, Piedmont Park, Rolling Hills Apartments, Townview Apartments and the Castle Heights community.

McClain is very passionate about his work with youth. If you attend one of his youth events or visited GIDE’s after- school programs, you’ll witness the passion in his eyes and feel the warmth in his heart. You’ll see the love and appreciation from the youth as well. It’s a wonderful vision to see how much they adore the man they call “Mr. Bill.”  

I asked Mr. Bill when he knew that working with youth was his calling, “God told me that he wanted me to work with children, and he told me in various ways because he made me feel good about my work with children.”

His organization programs aim to develop interdisciplinary thinkers. Literacy and science, technology, engineering and math are integrated throughout its curriculum.

GIDE has programs for parents as well, such as parents and school engagement, parents’ personal development and credit recovery. Some of the programs it provides for youth are   school tutorials, homework assistance and enrichment activities; and summer enrichment activities.

GIDE partners with Goodwill Industries of Northwest North Carolina, Piedmont Federal Savings Bank, the United Way of Forsyth County, YMCA Camp Hanes, Jerry Long YMCA, Winston Lake YMCA, Winston-Salem State University and BB&T Bank. Its Board of Directors is comprised of nonprofit managers, consultants, attorneys, public school administrators, and business professionals.

The Afterschool Alliance selected Bill McClain to serve as a 2016-2017 Afterschool Ambassador. He is one of just 15 leaders from across the nation chosen for the honor this year.

“We are thrilled that Bill will serve as an Afterschool Ambassador this year,” said Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant. “He is a dedicated champion for quality after-school and summer learning programs. I know he will mobilize business, community and faith leaders, lawmakers, educators, parents and others to increase resources for after-school programs, which keep students safe, inspire them to learn and help working families.

The Afterschool Alliance is the only organization dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of after-school programs and advocating for more after-school investments. The Afterschool Alliance works with the presidential administration, the U.S. Congress, governors, mayors, and advocates across the country. Today the Afterschool Alliance boasts more than 25,000 after-school program partners and publications that reach more than 65,000 interested individuals every month.

Check out my interview with McClain on the Winstonsalem Chronicle YouTube channel.

To reach Bill, email him at bill.tcew@nullgmail.com.

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