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Letter: Boys & Girls Clubs expand to give youth a bright future
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Growing up in Hall County, it is easy to believe you have a good perspective on all aspects of the community. You fall into a comfortable rhythm of school or work, college football and church. Repeat. Perspectives are not easily changed, yet becoming acquainted with a local nonprofit not only changed my perception of that organization but also of our community as a whole.

In Hall County, there are approximately 37,000 kids ages 5 to 18. More than 9,400 of those kids go home unattended each day after school because they do not have an affordable option for after-school programming. In a time in society where crime, drug and alcohol use and sexual violence are on the rise the safety of children during these after school hours is uncertain, there is a solution in our community: the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hall County.

Before becoming acquainted with the organization, I was under the impression the clubs focused on sports leagues and served economically disadvantaged kids. What I did not realize is they serve more than 1,600 kids every day from all backgrounds during the significant hours between school and home life at three Club Youth Centers, five Club school sites and one Public Housing site with potentially three additional Club school sites opening in August.

As a youth development organization, the key priority areas are academic success, healthy lifestyles and good character. Kids are led through an organized and a pre-scheduled mix of programs such as homework help and tutoring, engineering, boxing, taekwando, ballet, kayaking, SAT prep, Passport to Manhood and others, all while keeping the main focus as fun.

So which kids would benefit from the programming offered through the Boys & Girls Clubs? In my opinion, all of them. The need is great to develop the future workforce of our community. Could we be bold enough to imagine that the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hall County could be part of that development for our community and the surrounding areas?

Now serving as the board chair for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hall County, we recognize the growing need in our region for a youth development organization willing to challenge today’s youth with unique programming and giving them a vision for their future.

After receiving requests from several neighboring counties we plan to position our organization to meet the challenge by now becoming the Boys & Girls Clubs of Lanier.

We will serve more, do more and continue to open doors to more great futures for youth in our region.

Emily Hayes
Gainesville

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