There are some exciting things on the horizon for our local Boys and Girls Clubs! The Boys and Girls Clubs of the Clinch Valley operates two campuses: the Lawrence A. Hahn Club in Oak Ridge and the Roane County Club located at Harriman Middle School.
Each club offers affordable after-school and summer programming, and the Oak Ridge Unit offers the cityâ€™s only independent athletic leagues. The clubs charge a nominal annual membership and weekly fee; however, no child is turned away for an inability to pay.
The organizationâ€™s mission is to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.
The Oak Ridge Unit and organizationâ€™s operations are based out of the Lawrence A. Hahn building in Oak Ridge, named after the Clubâ€™s founder and Executive Director Emeritus Lawrence Hahn, who remains an active volunteer.
The Club was founded in 1958. Construction on the building began in 1956 and was completed almost entirely by government plant workers who volunteered in their spare time. Like so many of Oak Ridgeâ€™s landmarks, the building is in need of repair and updating.
The community has made great efforts to update the facility. The Leadership Oak Ridge Class of 2012 did a complete renovation of the art studio, and most recently the Club Alumni made possible a complete renovation of the gym. A small dance studio, made possible by the estate of Doris Noey, has been renovated with mirrors and wood floors and has opened new opportunities for dance and creative movement. While there has been steady progress, there is still much work to do.
Recent leaks in the roof have caused water damage. Tennessee Roofing donated a generous repair to the roof, but it really needs a complete replacement. Len Hart Construction provided a dumpster to help clear out much needed space and prepare for renovations. Everything from flooring to drywall needs repaired and replaced. Several grants are being pursued to complete the project room by room, and there will be an exciting announcement regarding further support coming soon.
Recently hired Chief Resource Officer Jennifer Pettyjohn and Volunteer Development Chair Leslie England of TNBank will be campaigning to raise awareness around the Clubâ€™s needs and services and rallying local businesses, contractors, civic clubs, and individuals to contribute generously to the Clubâ€™s renovation.
â€œThese kids are a worthy investment. They deserve a clean, safe, functional facility that inspires them to dream big. When they feel invested in, their behavior changes, they are empowered, and they take pride in their surroundings and accomplishments,â€ England said.
The staff and volunteer board will be launching its annual Great Futures campaign to support programming in the Club.
â€œThis year, donors will have the convenient option to pay by credit card or bank draft on a scheduled payment of their choice. This makes it more feasible to give a little bit each week or month that quickly adds up to a significant gift by yearâ€™s end,â€ said Pettyjohn, who recently worked with BancCard to set up the services. â€œAs little as $29.99 monthly can go a long way in supporting programming and helping us keep our doors open to those that need us most.â€
The Oak Ridge Unit has more than 700 annual members, and a daily average of 50-75 after-school members with room for more. There should not be a waiting list for afterschool care anywhere in Oak Ridge; there should not be a single child without a safe place to be after school. We need to make that happen. The Club is more than just an after-school day care.
â€œThe Club offers relevant and researched programming aimed at character and leadership development, education and career development, and health and life skills. We help with homework, supervised Internet access, get them moving and encourage them to be creativeâ€ said Adam Wilson, Oak Ridge Unit director who has served the Club more than 12 years.
Please consider how your business can become involved through monetary or material donation. Please consider how your civic club can become involved. It will take many hands and many hours to make this happen. Please consider how you, as a community member, can get involved. The Club maintains a â€œneeds listâ€ on its website, and something as simple as a needs drive at your church could make a significant impact.
We read in the news that kids need to be more active, kids need to safely navigate the Internet, and they need mentorship and positive relationships with adults. The Boys and Girls Club offers all that and more!
How will you become part of the great future of the Boys and Girls Club?
For more information or to download a pledge card, visit www.BGCOR.org or call Pettyjohn at (865) 244-6073 to process a donation or learn how you can get involved.