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BBF's mission is to improve the quality of life for North Lawndale area youth and their families by providing experiences that enhance their emotional, social, academic, and career development.
BBF was founded in 1961 by the late Joseph Kellman, Chairman and CEO of Globe Glass and Mirror. Kellman, a native of North Lawndale, opened the agency as a boysʼ after-school boxing club. Housing its own training facilities (the Archie Moore Gym), the club attracted hundreds of neighborhood boys and gained a reputation as one of Chicagoʼs premiere youth recreation centers. However, when several boys involved in the club were arrested following the armed robbery of a local store, Kellman recognized that recreational offerings were simply not enough. Boxing, while positive in its focus on discipline and physical skills development, did little to improve long-term life outcomes for youth individually or as members of the larger North Lawndale community. As Kellman had been oft quoted to say, "Sports are a lure, not a cure."
That recognition has led to the evolution of the agency over the last 50 years from a single-sex sports program into a multifaceted social service agency, the mission of which is to improve the quality of life for North Lawndale area youth and their families by providing experiences that enhance their emotional, social, academic, and career development.
Serving some 200 children and youth (more than half of whom are now girls) each day, BBF concentrates its efforts in two major areas: out-of-school time programming, and scholarship and career guidance assistance. BBFʼs programs provide a scaffold within which children and youth ages 5 to 21 years can grow, flourish and ultimately succeed outside of the supporting structure we provide--in school, in their careers and in their personal lives.
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