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Public to join in clubs’ projects

Boys & Girls to host open house in city’s square

POSTED: July 29, 2014 12:30 a.m.

From cooking to kung fu, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hall County is bringing its activities outdoors Thursday to show the community what it’s doing to serve area youth.

The Take the Roof Off the Club event is Hall County’s part in a national Boys & Girls Clubs awareness initiative. From 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., the clubs will provide activities designed to let community members experience a variety of Boys & Girls Clubs programs on the square in downtown Gainesville.

“We’re going to take what we do in the class — a lot of programs and activities — to the street,” said Joyce Wilson, Boys & Girls Clubs of Hall County vice president of development and marketing. “We want to allow the community to get a glimpse of what we do.”

Wilson said activity stations will be set up for each of the organization’s three goal areas: academic success, healthy lifestyles and good character and citizenship.

“For academic success, (staff) will be able to engage (guests) in a game of chess, or (guests) will be able to help with some of the robotics or STEM programs,” Wilson said.

The event will include demonstrations of the kung fu and cooking programs, live tutoring, live music, games and prizes.

Wilson said Hall County has three Boys & Girls Clubs at five locations, serving 5,500 students each year.

“We’re trying to draw attention to the fact that when the school bell rings every day at 3 p.m., there are 15 million kids (nationally) who have no place to go,” she said. “We want people to understand that this is a critical time in a child’s life and that we need to be doing more. ... Our vision is for every child who walks through our doors to be on track to graduate from high school with a plan for the future.”

She said the clubs offer academic success programs including tutoring, homework help, STEM enrichment, computer training and assistance in planning for the future; healthy lifestyles programs include a goal of one hour per day of physical activity, resistance training programs and nutrition education; and the good character and citizenship programs include leadership training and community service.

At Thursday’s event, community service will be highlighted as care packages are made for The Guest House, an activity center for seniors that aims to reduce unnecessary use of long-term care by providing care and activities during the day.

“We really encourage the public to come out,” Wilson said. “People can come check us out and then go have lunch or go shopping while they’re in the downtown area.”


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