The Boys and Girls Club of West Georgia makes it its mission to serve children in our community.
Now, in addition to it’s various clubs, fun activities, and caring volunteers and staff, the organization is adding new educational programs to it’s after school line up. Students will get to plant their own garden and cook in Positive Sprouts, learn healthy living tips in Triple Play, sing in a gospel choir, and learn how to use art as a form of positive self expression in Drama Matters, just to name a few.
“So many of our at risk students don’t have a way to express themselves or someone to look up to,” explained Club Director, Stephanie Chambliss. “This will give them a chance to express themselves in a positive way.”
The organization is also bringing back a few favorite programs, like the String Project, which allows students to learn a stringed instrument and take lessons through the LaGrange Youth Symphony Orchestra.
“A lot of programs we provide is supplemental exposure,” said Campbell. “Most of these programs were taken out of schools or not affordable to children in the community.”
While the Boys and Girls Club of West Georgia, a United Way agency, is helping to keep the students at the top of their class, the organization is also keeping them safe. According to the LaGrange Police Department and the U.S. Department of Justice, most juvenile crime takes place between 3 p.m. - 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. In other words, right after school lets out for the day.
One reason why the Boys and Girls Club of West Georgia stays open until 7 p.m.
“We really make use of after school hours, to talk about things going on in our community with our youth,” said Campbell. “This is a positive place for kids. If parents are working until 6:45 p.m., they don’t have to worry where their children are, or wonder if their homework is done.”
“The needs of kids continues to escalate. That’s why it’s vitally important for us to grow at the same rate as the kids in our community,” explained Chief Professional Officer, Bart McFadden.
That includes making a connection with each and every kid that walks through their doors and becoming a positive influence in their lives. Right now, the Boys and Girls Club serves 200 students on a daily basis, and is still enrolling more in to their after school programs.
“When the kids come through the door we always ask,’How was your day,’” said Campbell. “When you have a strong, supportive staff you can catch that kid that had a bad day. They know they can come to someone and say,’Hey, this is happening,’ and we can go to the parents.”
“The more they’re here, the deeper our impact is going to be,” said McFadden. “You learn through life experiences. Have a conversation with every kid you see …. through these relationships is when you teach. For kids in a working class family, time and finances can be challenging. It gets to where it excludes a lot of kids and families from great opportunities. But we have those here, all under one roof.”
The Boys and Girl Club of West Georgia has two locations: in Hogansville at Hogansville Elementary School and in LaGrange at the old Cannon Street Elementary School. The organization is still enrolling students for the 2014-2015 school year. For more information, or to sponsor a child, call the Boys and Girls Club at 706-812-9698.