The Boys & Girls Club of Cleveland County (BGCCC) is expanding once again, offering programs at Springmore Elementary, Fallston Elementary, the renamed Shelby Elementary and at a new site in the Kings Mountain school zone, beginning in fall 2022.
"When we heard earlier this year that Graham and Marion Elementary schools were going to be closed and that school-sponsored after-school programming would end on June 3, 2022, we immediately started working with school administrators to ensure that every child will continue to have options for after-school enrichment activities," says Joshua Propst, BGCCC executive director.
School officials and local organizations came together in an agreement that the school system would work through existing community partnerships - such as BGCCC, Communities in Schools, YMCA, churches, and other nonprofits - to offer these services.
"After determining the zones with the most need, Boys & Girls Clubs agreed to expand operations by opening those additional program sites to absorb as many students as possible who will be affected by these changes," says Propst.
As a preferred community partner, the BGCCC already shares program space at four school sites: Turning Point Academy, Graham Elementary, Casar Elementary and North Elementary.
"Students from Township #3 Elementary and Boiling Springs Elementary will be bused to nearby program sites," says Propst. "A small teen center in Lawndale is also planned through a partnership with Hope Community Church."
BGCCC provides all students in its programs with a daily healthy meal or snack, homework assistance, and the chance to participate in structured activities such as STEM, art, music, sports, nutrition and computers, according to Propst. The staff-to-student ratio is maintained at 1/15 or better.
"Safety is our number one priority, and all staff and volunteers undergo a rigorous criminal background check prior to working with children," he says.
The fee for students to attend any new BGCCC program will be set at $15 per week during the school year and $30 per week in the summer.
"Our goal is providing an affordable afterschool option for all students in the county, regardless of where they live or go to school," says Propst.
Pre-registration for upcoming programs is scheduled to begin soon.
"This is an exciting time of growth and opportunity for the Boys & Girls Club of Cleveland County that produces 'wins' for practically everyone involved, especially the children. Our programs produce the results we all want to see in our kids," says Propst.
Dr. Kim Greene, principal at Fallston Elementary School, agrees: "I am thrilled to have the Boys & Girls Club come to Fallston Elementary for our afterschool program. This provides much-needed support for our families in the area of safe and affordable after-school care on our school campus," she says. "I am excited for our students who will have opportunities to complete homework with support and experience a variety of enrichment activities while waiting for their families to pick them up after work."
For more information about the after-school programs or about the BGCCC in general, visit www.bgccleveco.org, search for "bgccleveco" on Facebook or call (704) 471-2582.