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VOL. 128 | NO. 144 | Thursday, July 25, 2013

Boys & Girls Clubs Brings After-School Focus

By Bill Dries

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Editor’s Note: Part of a series about the “Our Children. Our Success.” campaign. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Memphis intend to keep familiar elements for children and parents in the coming school year with after-school programs as well as tutoring.

And the clubs are among a coalition of groups hosting a forum for parents Thursday, July 25, at 5:30 p.m. at the Porter Goodwill club location at 620 S. Lauderdale St.

“Our main goal is to be a forum for the parents in the area who have kids that are going to be in the new unified school system to come out and get their questions answered,” said Megan Klein, vice president of development and marketing. “Our role as a community partner is to make sure that the parents of the kids we serve are getting all of the information that they need to make sure that their kids have a leg up when they start the school year.”

The community forum is being hosted by “Our Children. Our Success,” a campaign that includes The Daily News as well as The RISE Foundation and Literacy Mid-South. The campaign is part of the transition to the consolidated countywide school system that opens for classes on Aug. 5.

The after-school program that the Boys & Girls Clubs hope to grow in terms of students attending them is more than a place to go once the school day ends. The programs run from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays.

The clubs recently ended Saturday sessions.

“With our emphasis being so heavily focused on education and career development, we needed to be open when the kids are in school so that we can be available to help with homework after hours,” Klein said.

The efforts by the Boys & Girls Clubs in Memphis include tracking the grades of children in the after-school program.

“We’re tracking members’ progress for schools. We track their grades,” Klein said. “They can always get extra attention during their tutoring times.”

Each location has a certified teacher on staff once the tutoring sessions and other school-related programs begin at 4 p.m.

“The staff is also watching closely to make sure the kids are progressing. That’s where these relationships with parents become so critical,” she added. “We want to have open discussions with them.”

That includes weekly meals at the centers with parents.

Another aspect of the after-school program is vocational training for older children focused on careers in logistics, automotive repair and culinary arts. The idea is to position those children to get a job in those areas at something more than minimum wage either after college or after high school.

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