The Boys and Girls Club of Bulloch County will kick off its week long annual fund raising campaign next week. Like most charity drives, the campaign will approach both businesses and individuals soliciting contributions.
At a time when money is tight for everyone, raising money can be extremely difficult. A misperception can make it even more so. According to Mike Jones, executive director of our Boys and Girls Club, there is a nagging misperception that continues to circulate within our community, and frankly around the country where Boys and Girls Clubs are concerned.
"A number of people think that many of the children that participate and are involved with the program are doing so due to a court mandate," he said. "That is not the case. We don't have any children that are here, because a judge ordered them to be. We are in no way involved with the Department of Juvenile Justice."
Jones said the program is open to any child between the ages of 6 and 18, from any background, or any economic situation.
"Our daily program can serve 260 children, and we are currently full," Jones said. "Forty-four percent of the children here made the A/B Honor Roll for the last grading period. We have a 99 percent graduation/promotion rate among these children."
Jones said the primary focus of the organization is education.
"We are a continuation of the school day for many of these children," he said. "Our mission is to prepare them to further their education, to become productive, responsible citizens. Ultimately, they will be better employees for the businesses in this area."
Our Boys and Girls Club is supported by private contributions, grants, and state funding - no city or county funding is provided. Jones said that private contributions fund about 10 percent of the organization's $750,000 annual budget.
"It is only 10 percent, but it is a very important 10 percent, because it is unrestricted," he said. "State funds and grants have stipulations as to how the money can be used. We need the unrestricted dollars to pay for our utilities, insurance, and fuel costs. We can't use grants and state funds for those costs."
Of the children that participate in the programs at the Statesboro Boys and Girls Club, 85 percent live below the poverty level, and 68 percent live in a single parent family. By definition, these are our most at-risk kids, and they are all from Bulloch County.
From an economic perspective, it is far more expensive to sustain someone than to have them sustain themselves. If the Boys and Girls Club leads to a more productive citizenry, I am certainly willing to open up my checkbook for that.
So, until next Tuesday, I bid you au revoir.
Got a scoop for Jan? Call her at (912) 489-9463 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org