Boys and Girls Club of Columbia
COLUMBIA- The Boys and Girls Club of Columbia participated in a national campaign called Lights on Afterschool Thursday to encourage the community to continue supporting after school programs and promote funding. The campaign aims to raise awareness for the need "to keep the lights on and the doors open" at after school programs nationwide.
Low-income areas have traditionally struggled to supply resources and staff to after school programs. The Boys and Girls Club uses community mentors and academic assistance to reduce the achievement gap that students in at-risk areas face.
Vice President of Operations, Deronne Wilson said the club provides unique opportunities for its students that they may not otherwise be able to receive at home.
"I think the boys and girls club and all after school program is very important especially for low or at risk youth because those are the kids that sometimes don't have the support system at home," he said.
Wilson said he has seen that high quality environments link with high scores at the Boys and Girls Club.
"I think the benefit of the Boys and Girls Club especially with our partnership with Columbia Public Schools, we've seen the kids that participate in our program, we've seen their scores rise, their percentages go up, school attendance improve," he said.
After school program supporters were encouraged to sign a petition that discourages funding cuts nationally. The Boys and Girls Club lacks funds for more transportation to expand club enrollment.