Who Are Box of Rain Kids?
You see our kids out sailing in Annapolis...kayaking down Spa Creek...studying our Bay environment at CBF...or getting fit at Pip Moyer Center. You might have wondered "Who are these kids?" You've heard them referred to as "at risk youth," but what does that really mean? What disadvantages do they face?
This past summer Box of Rain brought in University of Maryland Family Science major Martha Whyte to conduct a series of interviews with our Box of Rain kids and their parents. The results illustrate the challenges our kids and families face, but you'll also see optimism and dreams for the future.
For 64% of our families, Box of Rain is their sole youth support organization. Your support helps Box of Rain bring mentoring programs—including a new Charting Careers program—to more than 50 kids all year long. DONATE ANY AMOUNT YOU CAN RIGHT NOW!
Life at Home for Box of Rain Kids
- Seventy-nine percent of the families interviewed were single-parent homes, but 29% of those single parents had an unmarried partner also living in the home. Of the single parent households, 91% were children living with their Moms.
- Sixty-four percent of interviewed parents held a job, and 33% of those working parents held evening/night-time shifts. Overwhelmingly, childcare was not available to Box of Rain children for summer daytime/evening and school year evening hours. Some parents preferred not to share income information, but of those employed, only four families made more than $35k per year and some made as little as a few thousand annually.
- Only 21% of parents had a driver’s license, and 29% had no car.
- Twenty-nine percent of parents interviewed dropped out of high school, 36% graduated high school, and 35% have secured some higher education. No parents were currently enrolled in higher education.
- Sixty-four percent of homes have no access to a computer and 43% have no internet access. Seventy-one percent of homes have no printer. Parents noted that using the public library was difficult due to lack of transportation.
- At least 85% of Box of Rain kids reside in public or subsidized housing, but interestingly parents did not report this accurately in their interviews. Only 36% of interviewed parents claimed to live in public housing and 14% said they lived in subsidized housing. Many simply claimed to rent their homes.
Activities and Help Outside of Home
- Parents were asked if their family received services from any other service organization, citing Girls’ & Boys’ Club, Creating Communities, Let’s Go, Seeds4Success, Scouts, or any other youth development organization. Thirty-six percent mentioned Boy and Girl Scouts. Sixty-four percent of parents said that Box of Rain was the only organization their family worked with.
- Forty-three percent of interviewed parents said that their children participated in no other after-school activities—including after school programs through public school. They mentioned a need for reading programs, sports clubs, tutoring, and music, arts and crafts. Lack of transportation precludes participation by most elementary school level kids in after-school activities. At the middle and upper school levels, however, where activity buses are provided, 57% of parents cited kids’ involvement in sports, homework and after school clubs.
Relationship with Box of Rain
- Seven percent of families and 16% of children have been involved with Box of Rain for at least 5 years. Thirty-eight percent of interviewed children have been with the program at least three years. And 42% have been involved two years. On a range of 1 to 5 with 5 being highest, parents were asked how well Box of Rain’s Summer Camp program met their needs. Thirteen out of 14 parents interviewed scored us as a 5, meeting needs “very well,” and one parent said he was too new to the program to make an informed opinion.
- When asked what Box of Rain could be doing to help more, 100% of parents interviewed commented that they would like to see more than two summer camp days per week. Sixty-four percent of parents said that their children had nowhere else to go on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and stayed home—often alone. Box of Rain children also gave the program a very high rating. Fully 100% of the children interviewed said that they “love the summer camp venues.” Top venues were Assateague Island and Chesapeake Water Park, followed by Pines on Severn, sailing, and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Ninety-four percent of kids would not change any of the venues, but 6%—the kids who had been there longest—suggested they were ready for some venue changes.
- Sixty-six percent of Box of Rain campers attend no other camps all summer. Thirty-four percent do attend at least one other camp, with the public housing rec centers being cited most frequently. If left to the children to decide, 38% said they would choose to attend Box of Rain camp, while the remainder either did not know or said they might prefer to stay home and play video games, basketball, etc. If given the choice to attend another type of camp, 32% expressed an interest in football or basketball camp, 19% would opt for gymnastics, robotics, or scout camp, and 50% had no interest in any other camp. Box of Rain counselors (most of whom come up through our program) were given a top rating by 100% of kids interviewed.
Dreams for the Future
- Twenty-eight percent of children interviewed aspired to careers in professional sports, such as NFL and NBA
- Thirteen percent had no dreams for their future careers
- The remainder cited careers in art, business, engineering, law, and medicine
- Parents commonly wished that their children do better than they had done. About 20% of parents interviewed preferred trade school over college as a career choice.
Thanks to our lead sponsors for making this kind of research—and the programs we'll develop as a result—possible!