Rotarians donate to kids club

Published 11:00 pm Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Pamela Nealey is not one to sugar coat a situation. Not when the doors of the Boys and Girls Club of Pike and Surrounding Counties are in danger of closing.

Nealey, the chief professional officer of the local Boys and Girls Club, was the guest speaker at the Brundidge Rotary Club on Wednesday. She told the Rotarians that the Boys and Girls Clubs receive no government funding and must depend on memberships, donations and grants to keep the doors open.

The local Boys and Girls Club needs about $177,000 each year to operate.

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“But that’s not a hefty price to positively change and save lives,” Nealey said.

“At first, working with Boys and Girls Clubs was just a job,” she said. “But, then I began to form relationships with my ‘babies’ and it became a mission – my ministry.”

Nealey said she could see how the Boys and Girls Club was changing lives by offering young people opportunities for meaningful relationships, ways of building self-esteem and giving them opportunities to succeed as adults.

Children who participate in the club take part in outdoor and indoor athletic activities and games, drug awareness programs, age appropriate classes on subjects such as money management and tutoring opportunities.

“When we began this year, we had 37 boys and girls in our tutoring program who were making D’s or below,” Nealey said. “At the end of the school year, we had only five who were making D’s or below and two of them were special needs children. So, that’s a good indication that what we are doing works.”

Nealey introduced two members of the Boys and Girls Club of Pike and Surrounding Counties to the Rotarians and asked them to tell what the club means to them.

Braxton McGhee, a student at Charles Henderson Middle School, said that the Boys and Girls Club is a place to learn and play.

“If I didn’t go to the club, I would just have to sit at home and be bored,” he said. “And, it’s good place to go when my parents are at work.”

Samira Moore, a Troy Elementary School student, said the club is a place to study and learn and meet new people.

“When you hear it from them, you know it’s going on,” Nealey said. “The Boys and Girls Club is a place where we minister to young people and also inspire and encourage parents through our Family-Plus program. It’s a place where we really do change lives.”

The club members, ages six to 18, pay a fee of $27 a week to attend the summer program at the Boys and Girls Club, but that’s not enough to keep the club in the black.

Nealey said the club needs the community to come forward and help if it is to continue to “change lives.”

“The Rotary Club has the same mission as ours – to change lives,” she said.

Gus King, program host, challenged the Rotarians to step up to the plate with personal donations. He pledged to donate a $20 bill for each $20 bill donated up to $100.

Within seconds, King was in for $100 and more $20 were dropped in the pot.

Jim Bruce Horn and Donna Horn matched the donations bringing the total to nearly $600 with more pledged.

King said his hopes are that other clubs, organizations and individuals will be willing to step forward and keep the Boys and Girls


Club open to do the businesses of changing the lives of children in the area.