Published 11:00 pm Tuesday, April 9, 2013


Tikiyah and Aniyah Bell, both fourth-grade students at Troy Elementary School, read and work on homework Tuesday at the Boys & Girls Club of Pike and Surrounding Counties.

Local Boys & Girls Club helps students build confidence, character

Aniyah and Tikiyah Bell, both 10, didn’t hesitate on Tuesday afternoon like they used to when asked about their grades.

“Do you have your graded papers?” asked Pamela Nealey, chief financial officer for the Boys & Girls Club of Pike and Surrounding Counties.

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“Yes, ma’am,” the twins answered, pulling their grade folders from their backpacks.

“Are they good?” Nealey asked, and the girls shook their heads up and down in response.

Aniyah and Tikiyah are just two of the success stories being written at the local Boys & Girls Club. Both came to the club with Fs in reading and other subjects and both have been able to raise their grades due to afternoon homework sessions and tutoring.

“My teacher wrote on my report card that she was proud of my reading grade going up,” Aniyah said.

Nealey said that is a testament to both the girls’ willingness to work hard, club staff, tutors from Troy University helping out, and the girls’ mother being supportive at home.

“None of us do it singularly,” Nealey said. “It’s teamwork.”

Now, Aniyah and Tikiyah boast mostly As and Bs. That’s something that has created a positive shift in attitude, coupled with confidence for the twins.

“I was so proud of myself because this is the first time I’ve made As and Bs,” Tikiyah said, beaming with a smile.

“Now she’s super eager to learn. She’s caught on to fourth grade concepts and she’s excited,” said Tiffany Siler who helps out at the club. Siler is working on her masters degree in clinical mental health counseling at Troy University.

“I used to have to make Tikiyah let me see her graded papers,” Siler added.

The Boys & Girls Club may be fun, but its not all games for the children who go there.

Each afternoon begins with snack, then an hour of homework time, then an hour of tutoring for any student who has below a C, then a Boys & Girls Club program.

“We have a structured, scheduled program,” Nealey said. “And it helps the children want to excel. They are proud of what they accomplish and we are proud of them.”

Even when homework time is up, Aniyah and Tikiyah don’t always get up from the table. Both girls do extra studying and Aniyah likes to read books to improve her skills.

“It makes me happy to do good,” Aniyah said.

Today, the county is invited to come and visit with Aniyah, Tikiyah and the rest of the club members at the facility on Three Notch Street for an open house event that’s part of National Boys & Girls Club Week. Tours will be given between 4-6 p.m. so the community can see what a vital resource the local club is, Nealey said.

“We just want the whole community to know who we are and how we can work together to help children, Nealey said.