The Commerce Journal

November 23, 2011

Boys & Girls Club partners with GISD, Commerce community

Caleb Slinkard
Commerce Journal

Commerce — Change is in the air for Greenville after school programs, and the Boys & Girls Club of Northeast Texas is participating in that change by collaborating with other community organizations to help give their members a more rewarding experience.

The ACE Program, a Greenville Independent School District after-school program, was created this past summer after the district received a federal grant. Part of the new program’s plan was to partner with current Boys & Girls Club sites.

“When the school district decided to write the Ace Program grant, they pulled me and Kelly Gaudreau from the YMCA in on meetings to discuss how we could partner on that program,” Chief Professional Officer for the Boys & Girls Club of Northeast Texas Jenny Smith said. “When they officially found out they had gotten the grant we obviously continued our conversations on what that partnership would look like. We decided to partner with GISD at the Lamar Boys & Girls Club site and the Teen Club.”

While the employees for these two sites are hired by GISD, the district and the club signed a memorandum of understanding stating that the two locations will remain Boys & Girls Club sites. The district is paying the Boys & Girls Club to train the employees, and the Lamar site remains at the same location, while the Teen Club is now at the middle school.

“The goals are the same between the Ace Program and the Boys & Girls Club,” Smith said. “What’s great for us is that it pulls the school district and certified teachers in on the part of the program the district is really good at- the academic and career development part of things.”

With the new partnership, the Boys & Girls club has information on which children need a specific kind of tutoring or instruction.

“The benefit to us is that we have better communication with the schools, more information on the kids,” Smith said. “We’re able to provide them with a more valuable experience.”

In enrichment portion of the ACE program, the Boys & Girls club ensures consistency in the programs they offer by providing current club curriculum.

“The Texas ACE program is really good at assessing the kid’s interests, and we’re trying to match up curriculum with what the kids have said in their assessments,” Smith said. “Then they’re training employees hired by district on those curriculum. We have stepped out of the homework portion of it, because we feel like the certified teachers are the most qualified for that position. What we are playing a larger role in now is our activities and offering our expertise in those activities that are being offered.”

The third Boys & Girls Club site at the Reecy Davis Senior Recreation Center remained at the same location as a traditional club site, but with improved tutoring via certified teachers.

“The grant was written for every school in the district except for Carver, because we decided along with the district that we wanted to continue having it a traditional boys and girls club branch,” Smith said. “The majority of Reecy Davis students came from Carver, and the district agreed to send over teachers to tutor.”

For the Reecy branch, the students are split up into five or six different groups for various subjects and are tutored by district teachers. After that portion of the program is over, the students walk over to the Reecy Davis Center and participate in Boys & Girls Club curriculum.

The Boys & Girls Club branch at Kavanaugh United Methodist Church has remained the same, continuing their successful program and receiving transportation by GISD.

The Commerce branch has experienced tremendous growth after moving to their new location in the A.C. Williams Elementary School.

“Commerce now has more than 70 kids and has a waiting list of more than 50,” Smith said. The Commerce branch is partnering with the university as students use some of their work-study hours to work at the club. Additionally, women’s basketball coach Nicole Anderson is offering her Hoop School program for the club members.

“Her program is right in line with our curriculum’s focus,” Smith said. “She doesn’t just talk about exercise, she talks about healthy lifestyles and nutrition.”

These partnerships, while in the initial stages of development, have helped produce steady growth at almost every Boys & Girls Club branch.