Club raises money to help teens

Published 10:55 pm Saturday, September 25, 2010

With crime and violence ever present, the Boys and Girls Clubs organization is stepping up its game.

With a newly formed advisory committee, the organization will host its first barbecue fundraiser to benefit the club Oct. 2 at Constant’s Wharf Marina from 4 to 7 p.m. Tickets are $30 and include dinner, two drinks of beer or wine and entertainment.

“The food will be great, and the proceeds help us make budget and provide our programs to the teens who need them,” said Reggie Carter, director of the Suffolk Boys and Girls Club. “We had to implement monthly fees in February for the first time in many of our clubs. It’s just where things are financially for the organization, but we know what we’re doing is important, and we want to continue providing it to as many people as we can.”

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The menu is barbecue, coleslaw, bake beans and hush puppies. Additional beverages can be purchased for $2 each. The Island Boy band will provide entertainment.

The Suffolk Boys and Girls Club operates out of John F. Kennedy Middle School and has been active for eight years.

It provides before-and-after school care for students and programs in five core areas: character and leadership, education and career development, the arts, health and life skills and sports and recreation.

The club has nearly 142 members, which is about half of what it was a few years ago.

Because of a tight Suffolk Public School budget, the buses many of the members arrived on were cancelled, cutting the number of students who were able to come.

“We are so thankful for everything the school system is doing for us,” Carter said. “We understand a tight budget. It’s just too bad they can’t be bused in anymore. A lot of those kids are latchkey kids. No one is at home between 3 and 6 p.m. That’s the biggest time kids are getting into trouble. That’s where we need to get them and give them a safe place and structured environment.”

The proof of its success is in the students the organization produces. The past two regional “Youth of the Year” award recipients came from the Suffolk program.

“Our mission is about enabling young people to be the best and the most they can be,” Carter said. “We want to give students a fun, safe place to grow and explore new opportunities.”

For more information on the barbecue call 574-7359.