Boys & Girls Club can serve more children at new Warner Robins location

efarlow@macon.comJuly 17, 2013 

WARNER ROBINS -- The Boys & Girls Club of Warner Robins was “busting at the seams” at its old location on Green Street, said Catherine Snook, director of development for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Georgia.

“We needed more space,” she said.

Warner Robins City Council noticed the need and made a facility at Sewell Circle Park available to the club. June 3, children were able to use the new facility, located at 116 Wallace Drive.

“The program outgrew the (old) area,” Councilman Daron Lee said.

The new location gives the club the opportunity to expand and use the ball field and pool at the park, he said.

At the old location on Green Street, the Boys & Girls Club served 49 children, said Devorba Russell, unit director in Warner Robins.

Snook said the new location should give the club the ability to serve up to 100 children once school starts. Right now, the club has about 60 or 70 members.

“We are very happy to be able to serve more families,” Snook said.

The new location at Sewell Circle Park features more space for recreation, a larger indoor game room and a larger computer lab, which is still being set up.

“We’re thrilled to have the outdoor space” at the park, Snook said.

Snook said the move from Green Street to Sewell Circle Park happened after this year’s budget was decided. She said the move had an unanticipated impact of $100,000 on the budget.

The club pays a lease of $200 per month on the building and part of the maintenance expenses. The largest expense, though, is the increased staff that comes with a larger facility. The club hired one full-time staff member for the summer, and it plans on hiring one to two more staff members for the school year.

Snook said the Warner Robins community has stepped up to help the club cover the new expenses.

The city of Warner Robins gave the club a Community Development Block Grant, and Robins Federal Credit Union also made a contribution. Wells Fargo, O’Reilly Auto Parts, Wal-Mart, Lowe’s and Kohl’s also make donations to the Boys & Girls Clubs.

The old location on Green Street was a Warner Robins Housing Authority location, and Snook said that although the club has moved from that area, the housing authority continues to support the club.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Georgia also has its own fundraisers such as the annual Sporting Clay Fun Shoot on Nov. 1.

A gala Nov. 16 to honor the 75th anniversary of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Georgia also will raise funds.

Russell said the new location is convenient for the kids, and Snook said it allows the club to have a bigger community presence.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Georgia began in 1938 with only 12 children. They became part of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America in 1944. Boys & Girls Clubs offer programs on civic engagement, character and leadership, education and career, health and life skills and sports, fitness and recreation. Their goal is to ensure on-time graduation for their members and college or job readiness.

Membership is $5 per session. The summer session ends Friday, and the school-year session begins in August.

To contact writer Emily Farlow, call 744-4225.

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