WICHITA FALLS — (KFDX/KJTL) For almost 100 years the Boys and Girls Clubs of Wichita Falls have been inspiring area youth to realize their full potential in society.
They do this through programs that promote character building and leadership, as well as sports and the arts.
Kendra Childres said the Boys and Girls Clubs of Wichita Falls has been a blessing to her family.
“I’ve lost both of my parents as a young adult and not having my mom, my dad to go run pick up my kids or be there on any given time, the club is always here,” Childres said.
There are five clubs in Wichita Falls, all providing a well-rounded education for children, in a safe and fun environment since 1929.
“I was here in ’96 cheering and playing basketball and 21 years later my kids were here in 2017 and they are still here,” Childres said.
Randy Cooper, the clubs’ executive director, said community contribution helps to continue to mold these young minds to be productive, responsible and caring young adults.
“Multiple evidence-based studies tell us, children that participate in an after-school program, several things emerge,” Cooper said.
“Number one, the kids tend to do better academically in school, number two, the kids tend to participate in more extra-curricular activities and events with positive results and lastly, there are far [fewer] encounters with the juvenile justice system.”
Cooper said prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Boys and Girls Clubs generally served more than 5,000 kids annually, at all five locations combined.
However in an effort to keep children and families safe, membership has cut back.
“Current membership is approximately 3,900 young people,” Cooper said.
Funds needed to keep the programs running has reduced as well.
Cooper said there has been a 20% decline in donations received that go towards the $2.4 million it generally takes to keep the doors open.
“Only three to four percent tops of our budget comes from any fees paid by young people and families,” Cooper said.
Cooper and Childres encourage Texomans to offer even the smallest bit of assistance to keep the clubs open another 100 years.
“This club is our future, these kids are our future,” Childres said. “The club is here and it’s been here forever, do not forget it.”
There a number of ways you can donate to the Boys and Girls Clubs including the Great Futures Campaign, which accounts for 15% of the budget.
Find out how you can lend a helping hand here.