Wakeman Boys & Girls Club

To guide and inspire young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, and responsible citizens.


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Wakeman Boys & Girls Club (WBGC) opened its doors in 1913 in Southport, Connecticut and moved to its current Center Street location in the 1950s. After two capital campaigns to add additional program space, the Southport Clubhouse now serves more than 350 Kindergarten through 12th grade youth each day.

In partnership with the Fairfield Board of Education, WBGC began an outreach program at McKinley Elementary School in Fairfield in 2005. Due to the success of this program, WBGC launched a new mentoring program at Holland Hill School in fall 2018 which follows the same model as the McKinley program. Fall 2021, WBGC became the before/after school provider at McKinley.

In June 2011, following a $7 million capital campaign, the Smilow-Burroughs Clubhouse opened on Fairfield Avenue in Bridgeport. This 23,000 square foot, LEED-certified building provides quality programs for more than 500 1st–12th graders annually. The demographics of the Smilow-Burroughs Clubhouse members are as follows: Black or African American 43%, Hispanic Latino 23%, Two or more races 11%, White 8%, Unknown/None Given 15%

• English is the second language for almost 40% of the members

• Nearly 60% of families live below the poverty line

• Over 65% of homes are led by single mothers

In March 2022, WBGC broke ground on a third Clubhouse, a $25 million undertaking, in the North End of Bridgeport. The doors will open to coincide with the first day of school in fall 2023. The Madison Avenue Clubhouse will have the capacity to serve over 1,000 children each year coming from nine area schools of which 98% of students are eligible for free lunch, 54% of students live in single-parent homes and 89% of students are a minority. This project is critical as there are currently no other youth serving organizations in the North End/Hollow District of Bridgeport to support these children and their families.

WBGC now serves over 2,900 K-12th graders through the Smilow-Burroughs and Southport Clubhouses and McKinley and Holland Hill Schools and provides more than 100 programs annually in three core areas: Academic Success, Good Character & Citizenship, and Healthy Lifestyles. When the third clubhouse opens, WBGC will be serving over 4,000 youth in the greater Bridgeport area.

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