Expanding care

Published 11:00 pm Friday, July 6, 2012

Local kids club offers new program

Kids will have a fun place to play and learn during the two weeks before school starts, thanks to an expansion of a local program.

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The Boys and Girls Club of Pike and Surrounding Counties had planned to end their summer program on July 31, but will now offer a special two-week program prior to the start of area schools in August.

“We want to make sure people understand that we care about the kids in Pike County,” said Pamela Neeley, chief financial officer of the club. “They need someplace safe and fun to go.”

For $20, kids will be welcome at the club from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and will be provided a snack during the day. Kids will need to bring lunches, except on Friday when the club will serve pizza and hotdogs.

From July 6 to Aug. 10, the First Baptist Church in Troy will present a vacation Bible school program to participating children. The next week will be filled with fun events and educational opportunities, Neeley said.

The two-week program will be available, even after funding concerns at the beginning of the summer threatened to keep the club’s doors closed until the beginning of the school year.

“Even though we are having funding issues, for us, it’s not about the money,” Neeley said. “It’s about the kids having somewhere safe to go, off the streets and out of the heat.”

The club hosted 72 members over the summer session, some paid, some on scholarship. Although the Troy Housing Authority provides money for memberships for resident children, there are many parents who make payment plans, or can’t afford memberships at all.

“We work with parents. We don’t turn any child away,” Neeley said. “We just can’t. We won’t.”

Registration is open until July 31 for the two-week session.

For more information about the expanded program at the Boys and Girls Club, or to volunteer or donate supplies or money, call (334) 770-2582.