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Home News-Telegram News Grant loss ends collaboration between SSISD, Boys and Girls Club

Grant loss ends collaboration between SSISD, Boys and Girls Club

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Despite the valiant efforts of Grants Administrator Sherry Chester, Sulphur Springs Independent School District and the Boys & Girls Club of Hopkins County will not benefit from a 21st Century Grant this year.

"The collaboration between the Boys & Girls Club and the school district is no more. The district got a 21st Century grant, but it was only for a limited time, five years. .... Now we are a traditional Boys & Girls Club," said Ayana Pryor, club executive irector.

In the past, the grant provided funding for some supplies such as computers and basketball goals for the B&GC, covered the cost of running two school buses to and from the club, and paid for some positions for the Douglas SSPARKS program and B&GC staff.

The lack of grant funding ended the Douglas SSPARKS program and cut all bus transportation from the schools to the College Street club to the one operational bus owned by B&GC. The club hopes to purchase another bus at auction in the future to be able once again to  provide additional transportation services for its young members, including the ability to drop students off at home at the end of the day.

As for the B&GC operations, not much will change except it will stand on its own as a traditional Boys & Girls Club. A materials purchased with the funding goes back to the grant holder, so they're waiting to hear whether they will get to keep the games, equipment and computers of if they'll go back to the school.

The split, while sad, could open other doors for the club.  The program will be able to dents off at home at the end of the day.

As for the B&GC operations, not much will change except it will stand on its own as a traditional Boys & Girls Club. Materials purchased with the grant funding generally go to the grant holder, so they're waiting to hear whether they will get to keep the games, equipment and computers of if they'll go back to the school.

The split, while sad, could open other doors for the club.  The program will be able to serve as many if not more youths; it is no longer restricted by grant requirements in the number of club members. It also will be able to tap into additional community resources, according to Pryor.

"The center is a recreational center. They either choose to go here or are here because they have nowhere else to go. We hope everyone is comfortable. As an example, we had one student that started out very withdrawn and quiet. Now the youth is out there and playing," Pryor said.

She emphasized that while the College Street B&GC campus during the school year mostly serves Sulphur Springs youth, it is open to all county youngsters. Parents can drop them off in the afternoons after school, and some even walk from home to the club. They also serve students in Cumby at the school.

The program is open year round, closing for only a few holidays, offering working parents a place for their children to be during the summer months for a small fee to help offset activities costs and is open at no additional cost than the annual membership fee to attend during Christmas and spring break holidays.

It's not limited to children who have no other place to be. Any county youth from kindergarten though seniors as members can drop by to take advantage of the club facilities, games and assistance.

"This is not a day care and we do not make them be here a certain number of days either," Pryor said. "We want to help instill confidence in kids."

The club will begin developing a wider curriculum in an effort to reach all age youth from kindergarten up, as well as specific target groups. The B&GC will be a more club-oriented program, which county youth can attend and enjoy at their leisure or that of their parents.

The club designates an hour after school every day for students to complete homework, then kids have the option of enjoying the various stations and activities once complete.

The club is dedicated to character development in the following areas: character and leadership; education and career; sports, fitness and recreation; health and life skills; and special initiatives.

The club encourages children to be leaders in the community by getting involved in different types of programs. Drug awareness and prevention is addressed. SMART ñ Skills Mastery and Resistance Training is targeted at girls, while Passport to Manhood is for boys. Staples sponsors Goals for Greatness and JC Penney sponsors Power Hour, the homework program. Dollar General and local businesses donated items for PowerHour: Making Minutes Count Store, which rewards members who work diligently to finish their homework. Under the sports, fitness and recreation curriculum members are taught about healthy competition and good sportsmanship, self confidence, and starts all students at the same level when starting sporting activities. The club hopes to revive its baseball program and would like to take part in the national B&GC's intercity football program.

Special incentives the club has either begun or has plans to start include Youth in Unity to teach about diversity and cultural differences and accepting and appreciating those; Latina Outreach, a program to get more Hispanic students involved in the club as only about 5 percent of club members are Hispanic; Family Plus, offering a night every two months where families can get together at the club for an inexpensive family activity such as watching a movie on a pull down screen.

"We have lots of ideas and things to do. Now we'll be able to call on resources from the community. Patsy Johnson, vice president of the board, and a couple of other ladies are talking about teaching an etiquette class. Drama Matters, a partnership with TNT, is one thing we hope to get community actors involved with the kids," Pryor said. "We still provide a snack, and we'd like to do a program to provide kids who stay after 6 with a brunch type snack, but we need to do kitchen renovation before we can do that."

The club always welcomes volunteers, especially those with special skills such as artists, writers and photographers, to work with the kids. All volunteers are subjected to a background check, which simply makes sure they are OK to be around kids.

Boys & Girls Club of Hopkins County will also be participating in the "One Campaign" sending out information cards to community members for donations and an evening golf tournament instead of holding big dinners and similar type fundraisers.

The club is open during the school year from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Thursday and from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, closing early so that staff can go to and help support local school teams. Summer hours are 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday.

For more information about the Boys & Girls Club of Hopkins County, call 903-438-8404.

 

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