Beginning Monday, the Boys and Girls Club will be returning to Wilson. It will now be run under the direction of the Boys and Girls Club of Southeastern Oklahoma.
Executive Director Larry Long said that while they are excited to be adding new locations, they hated hearing that the Boys and Girls Club of Wilson was going to be closing.
“When we found out that they were closing down, it just broke our hearts that those kids were not going to be served,” Long said. Since then, he and his organization have been diligently working to return service to the area.
Long has a lengthy history with Boys and Girls Club of America. He himself attended while growing up in Springfield, Mo. and even went to college on a scholarship provided by the agency.
“I started working there basically full time when I was a freshman, and I didn’t ever leave,” Long said.
Since then his career within the organization has taken him all over the country with positions in Washington D.C., Georgia, Texas and Ohio. He moved to Durant in 2016 where he began his current role.
While their first concern was getting the Boys and Girls Club reopened in Wilson, BGC of Southeastern Oklahoma have also been working on reopening Teen Town in Wilson and returning the program to
Ardmore.
“It looks like we’re probably going to be opening Teen Town around the first of January,” Long said. He also said that his team has been working with a school located in Ardmore in order to return the program to the city.
“We really want to help Ardmore too,” Long said. “I know what it means to parents to give their kids a safe place to go after school — some place to keep them off the streets and out of trouble.”
Long then named some of the programs Boys and Girls Club will soon be offering to students.
“We do a mentoring program where we try to match up students with an adult who will spend an hour a week with the kids,” Long said. This hour could involve anything from helping with a math assignment to playing basketball. “It’s just important that kids can spend quality time with the adults who can be their role models.”
They will also be implementing Power Hour where staff and volunteers make sure the children get all their homework done.
“This lets the kids spend quality time with parents once they get home,” Long said. He also said that this will provide more quality time in school for students and teachers.
“If homework isn’t done when they get to school, there’s a confrontation window with teachers because they don’t have their work,” Long said. “We do our best to eliminate that.”