Three Boys & Girls Clubs in the Metro Richmond area will shut down this fall, affecting hundreds of current members. Five clubs will remain open in the area.
For Darnell Christian, there's no where else he'd rather be than his Boys & Girls Club in Richmond.
“I’ve been here since I was 6 years old. It's like a home away from home to me,” he said.
The 13-year-old helps lead activities for the younger kids.
"We do positive things. We help with the little kids make better decisions in life and help them to grow so that when they grow up, they can show their little siblings and everything else."
But soon 250 out of the 2,200 current members will have to find another option. Three clubs, the Central Club in The Fan, the Randolph Club and the Hopewell Club, will shut their doors August 15th.
“Those neighborhoods for the good have changed a lot, and now we want to take our resources to the areas of Richmond and hopefully drive change in those neighborhoods as well,
said President and CEO Todd McFarlane.
That includes Southside, Northside and East End of Richmond, as well as Petersburg.
“Because that's where the highest density of young people are living in high-risk circumstances,” said McFarlane.
McFarlane says they hope to expand programs for teenagers and help prepare them for the workforce so that like Darnell, they'll stay motivated after high school and pay it forward.
"(I’ll) probably run a boys and girls club after that,” said Darnell.
Complete press release from Boys & Girls Club:
Richmond, Va., May 24, 2014 – Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Richmond announced today a broad strategic realignment of Club operations resulting in expanded programming at five of its Richmond and Petersburg locations and the closing of three Clubs, including the one in Hopewell.
According to President & CEO Todd McFarlane, the closing of the three Clubs will affect 250 of the Clubs’ approximately 2,200 members. Those attending Clubs slated to be closed will be welcome to participate in Clubs that remain open, and Club staff will help families as much as possible to find an appropriate solution for their young people.
“The Board of Directors has made the strategic decision to realign our resources to focus on neighborhoods with the highest density of young people living in disadvantaged circumstances within the cities of Richmond and Petersburg,” McFarlane said. “Over the next five years, we will enhance our youth development opportunities to be more comprehensive, particularly with programming that provides more educational and work opportunities for teenagers. At the same time this realignment will allow us to be a part of the transformation of neighborhoods while giving young people who live in high-risk neighborhoods opportunities they need to succeed. Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Richmond wants to make sure that all neighborhoods become places where success is both possible and expected. Additionally, we exist because of philanthropic gifts from the community and we want to be the best possible stewards of the resources that are given to us.”
The Hopewell Club, located within Harry E. James Elementary School in Hopewell, VA, as well as the Central Club at 2601 Kensington Avenue and the Randolph Club at 910 South Harrison Street in Richmond, VA will close on August 15, following a nine-week summer program.
The following Club locations will remain open: in the East End, Clubs are located at Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School and Fairfield Court; in Northside, the Capital One Club is located in Providence Park; in Southside, the Southside Club is located on Bainbridge Avenue; and in Petersburg, the Club is located at Blandford Academy.
For close to 70 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Richmond has served kids ages 6-18, providing safe and nurturing programs that help build character, expose them to career possibilities and foster mentoring relationships. The Clubs reach young people in the community who typically live in areas of high poverty and crime where out of school time opportunities are limited. Club membership fees are as low as $10 per year.
“We believe that all children, particularly those from the most disadvantaged circumstances, should have the opportunity to succeed in life,” McFarlane said. “We are proud of our work in Richmond’s Fan District and Randolph neighborhood as well as the Hopewell community, and we are especially proud of the more than 20,000 different members who are alumni of these Clubs. It is time to lift up the neighboring communities to create positive, life-changing opportunities that will improve the lives of many more kids in Richmond and Petersburg and transform neighborhoods. ”
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