The Boys and Girls Club in Jones County has had to make adjustments in their summer activities due to COVID-19, but the club has remained operational virtually to continue to provide education and services.
Pamela Peek, the CEO of the club in Jones County, said she misses seeing the children and is looking forward to when they are able to open up safely. The Boys and Girls Club is located at 159 West Clinton Street in Gray behind the W.E. Knox Civic Center.
“We are a youth development organization, and unlike a daycare center we are in the
business of molding our young people to become responsible, caring citizens in the communities they wish to reside,” Peek said. “We work with our young people on education and career development, character and leadership development, the arts, health and life skills, and sport fitness and recreation.”
She said she hasn’t seen many youth development organizations within Jones County, so she finds the Boys and Girls Club very important. She said there aren’t many stand alone after school programs offering the diverse services they are able to offer children.
“When it comes to looking at our young people within our local community, outside of the recreation department, outside of Scouts and a few other programs, I feel like we give them the most wellrounded component there is to become leaders within their community. I feel like these kids will become role models for others, too,” she said.
The CEO said they have an enrollment process where parents can sign up their children for the club. The cost is $110 and it covers the entire school year. She said the cost for summer is $80 per child. She said parents can pick up applications at the Boys and Girls Club. She said due to COVID-19, they are having to make adjustments and at the moment they are doing the club virtually.
“The virtual programs started as early as April. We helped with online school work and assistance,” Peek said. “The kids have been able to participate in online programs to do some fun stuff outside the home. We’ve done that twice a week and we also served lunches.”
Peek said it’s been important for the Boys and Girls Club to work with the schools to get lunches to students. She said they may be able to open the doors back up in July, but they have to make sure they have enough PPE supplies and can meet in a safe way.
She said as they convene with the children virtually, they are continuing to help them learn since the children have been out of school since March. She said they check with the schools to make sure they are helping to teach the students by the standards.
“Even once we open our doors, we will have to limit the number of children occupying the facility. We want to maximize those kids who are able to get outside of the home activities, but into a home environment. We don’t want the kids confined to their homes all the time, so we are working on how we can get them here,” the CEO said.
She said something new the Boys and Girls Club will be doing as they move forward is that all children will have to have a physical before they join the club. She said some of the children might already have health issues, and they want to be aware of those as they engage in various activities.
Peek said being a part of the Boys and Girls Club is rewarding because she gets the opportunity to see the children as they grow up, graduate school and become productive men and women. She said it’s all worth it when they come back for visits.
“The kids seem to really enjoy being here,” Peek said. “We have a lot of them say they miss us on the virtual progr ams, so I think they’re looking forward to us opening back up. We can’t wait to see them again.”