Through guidance and youth development programs and activities, the Boys & Girls Club of Erie inspires and enables young people to achieve their full potential as knowledgeable, caring, contributing citizens.


  • Foster secure attachments to caring adult mentors and teachers
  • Discover and nurture every child’s interest, talent and/or attribute
  • Provide a building centered safe place for youth to grow and learn and have fun
  • Provide diversified activities supported by sound educational and youth development principles and research


The Erie Boys Club, founded in 1895, was the 31st Boys Club founded in the United States and one of 53 organizations that created the national organization, Boys Club of America, in 1906. Boys Club of America was chartered by Congress in 1956 and officially became the Boys & Girls Club of America in 1989.


As we enter our 120th year of continuous service to the children of Erie and Erie County, we do so with the confidence that our agency’s efforts are concentrated on those who need us the most, children from disadvantaged circumstances. 

Our mission at our founding in 1895, in a simple one-room recreation area on the southwest corner of 7th and State Streets, was to impart to “newsies” the habits of character necessary to become good citizens of the Erie community. 
The principles that continue to guide us are as timeless as our mission: the Club remains a safe haven, affordable to any child, and is open when kids need it most, after school and in the evenings.

We continue to offer the most diversified youth activities of any agency in Erie County – in The Arts, Character & Leadership, Guidance & Education, Health & Life Skills, Social Recreation, and Sports & Fitness.

We try to concentrate our resources on having the greatest possible impact on the kids who come to us, with impact defined as the achievement of two key characteristics: mastery of a skill or attribute, and a secure attachment to an adult staff member or volunteer–all within the civic context of being knowledgeable of and connected to the larger community. In this way the Club can serve a larger civic purpose.

We do all of this with 85 percent of our resources going to the character-building and citizen-building activities and programs of the Club. Only 12 percent of our resources are spent administering the Club, with 3 percent dedicated to raising money.

With additional support we’re confident that we can deliver on our mission and broaden our reach and deepen our impact. We know first-hand that the club works because many of our staff members — John Popoff, Denise Messina, Sheldon Williams, Robert Gilmer, Felicia Mattocks, and Al Messina — are former Club Members.