Oct. 10, 2006 – Thanks to Rotary West, the Frederiksted Boys & Girls Club will be able to do even more to provide a safe, and educational, haven for area children. In addition to recently donating 10 much-needed computers, Rotary members also updated the club's kitchen and provided a landscaper to keep the outside of the facility neat and clean.
To keep the newly renovated kitchen in good working order, Rotary has also donated the time of a plumber. The enhancements to the facility, located in Hannah's Rest, will be complete by the end of October.
Frederiksted Boys & Girls Club Director Malik Stridiron said the club could not survive without the generosity of organizations like Rotary West. "We want to thank them for supporting the youth of the Virgin Islands and tell them to keep up the good work." Stridiron said Rotary West is always willing to come to the aid of the club and that its help is well appreciated.
The Frederiksted club, which got its charter in 1973, offers tutoring, arts and crafts, basketball and more. According to Stridiron, the club's main goal is to "keep kids off the streets," adding, "If you bring them here you know they will be safe and supervised."
Stridiron said the territory's three clubs — the original in Frederiksted, one in Christiansted and another in Fire Burn Hill on St. Thomas — can turn a child around and that the community needs to acknowledge their achievements.
"We don't spotlight the kids that have turned from 'F' students to 'A' students," said Stridiron, adding, "I hate to drive around the island and see a child doing nothing."
However, keeping kids off the streets is only part of the mission of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, originally founded in 1860. The family-oriented clubs also offer programs where parents and children can both enjoy activities and learn to work together. They clubs also offer field trips and counseling services promoting family togetherness.
Another aspect of the club is the presence of counselors trained in child care and certified by the Boys & Girls Clubs of America to assist all types of children. Children with special needs, like hearing impairments, attention-deficit disorder and other challenges, are welcome with open arms.
Junior high and high school students attending the club may generate community service hours by mentoring other students. These students may also learn important skills to help them in their future employment.
Enrollment in the program is $25 per child per school year. During the summer, children may participate in the program for $220. All locations are open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Only the St. Thomas facility is open weekends.
Children need to be at least five years old and can remain members until their 18th birthday. Currently, more than 150 children, territorywide, are enrolled in the clubs.
Stridiron urged any parent who knows their child will be home alone after school to enroll them in the program. "With all the crime and violence out now," he said, "you never have to worry where your child is if something bad happens in your neighborhood."
For more information on enrollment, call 772-3110 in Frederiksted, 778-8990 in Christiansted and 715-3052 on St. Thomas.
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