Grovetown officials hope that, when classes begin in August, some of the city's students will have a new after-school program available to them.
Grovetown City Council agreed last month to allow the Boys and Girls Club of Augusta to set up its fourth location in the Liberty Park Community Center off Newmantown Road.
"It is going to improve the quality of life in Grovetown," said Barry Davis, a board member of the Augusta Boys and Girls Club. "Statistics have shown that youth crimes are committed between the hours of 2 and 7 p.m., which are typically hours that parents are away from the home. We're bridging that gap. We're providing a safe haven, structural activities for after school for these kids that come in."
Davis said the club's after-school program will provide computer classes, homework help, job placement training and Passport to Adulthood, which explains what to expect as they mature into puberty. The club also will offer arts and crafts, games, sports and sporting leagues.
Some schools offer after-school programs, but the club will provide programs for children who can't attend school programs for cost, time or transportation reasons. Davis said the club has already worked out an agreement with the school board to bus Boys and Girls Club children to Liberty Park.
Three city officials got a taste of the Boys and Girls Club by touring the Division Street facility on Friday. The club currently operates three locations - two in Augusta and one in Thomson.
"It is neat. They have hundreds of kids," City Councilman Dick Manion said. He thinks the program is a good fit for Grovetown.
Davis said a feasibility study by the national Boys and Girls Club deemed Grovetown the perfect location for a new club because of the high number of families moving to the city with children between ages 6 and 18. The club is applying for a grant that will fully fund the program for the first three years and to a certain extent for two additional years, depending on infrastructure.
"So it is a five-year commitment to Grovetown," Davis said. The program includes security at the door for child pickups and a certified teacher to help children with their homework.
The grant proposal needs to be submitted by the end of April, and Davis said he hopes to hear if it has been approved by mid-May.
The program costs $10 per school year per child. Using seized drug money, Grovetown Department of Public Safety Chief A.L. Robinson said, he'll pay the tuition for the first 100 participants in the first year.
"I can't think of a better way to use that money," Robinson said.
Davis said he anticipates the club will serve 80 children during the first year. He said he hopes to see the community and area businesses get involved with the program as volunteers or as mentors for the children.
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