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Boys & Girls Clubs open their doors

POSTED: August 2, 2014 12:25 a.m.
/For the Times

Steve Mickens, left, chief professional officer of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hall County, and local businessman Jim Walters stand with Boys & Girls Clubs members at "Take the Roof Off the Club."

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Folks came to the downtown square around lunchtime Thursday to enjoy live music from Dave Boyd and the Shade Tree Smugglers and catch a glimpse of what goes on in the club.

Club members and staff participated in a variety of programs and demonstrations, including tutoring displays, games, cooking demonstrations and live kung fu lessons.

“We had a great turnout,” said Joyce Wilson, vice president of development and marketing for the club.

“People came and would interact with all the different club members. We even had a couple of people that were very engaged with a game of chess and played with the kids for hours,” she added. “In fact, we’re going to follow up with a couple of them to see if they want to continue to come by the club and be a part of our chess club.”

Attendees also participated in putting together care packages for The Guest House with the kids, as well as fixing healthy salads and hula-hooping.

The event kicked off the new Great Futures Campaign, a national awareness drive to “mobilize the community in support of kids and empower today’s youth to achieve great futures.”

“It’s to help draw attention to the fact that every day once school lets out, there are 15 million children nationwide who have no place to go,” Wilson said.

“We need to provide after-school care for every child that needs us, and we believe very strongly that if we work in partnership with the school systems and provide quality after-school programs that really target those three priority areas of academics, healthy lifestyles, and character and cititizenship, that kids can be prepared to graduate from high school on time and go on to become productive citizens,” she added.

In addition to launching the campaign, Wilson said, the event showed the community the club is more than just a place for kids to go after school.

“We do a lot of academics, tutoring, (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) enrichment, computer skills and basically, our vision for every child that walks through our doors is that they will be on track to graduate from high school with a plan for the future and that they are demonstrating good character and citizenship and have the tools to live a healthy lifestyle.”


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