Boys & Girls Club needs mentors

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 9, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; Money would be nice, of course. But Matilda Stephens of the Boys & Girls Club of the Miss-Lou knows the children there need more than that.

And it wouldn’t cost a thing.

&uot;We always need money, but more than that we need volunteers or mentors,&uot; said Stephens, putting volunteer time at the top of her organization’s Christmas wish list.

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Boys & Girls Club especially needs mentors for the boys and young men who attend the facility, which is located at Thompson School.

&uot;If we could get some of the men’s Sunday school groups to come out so our high school boys could have someone to look up to,&uot; Stephens said.

Many of the children come from single-parent homes &uot;where the mother is the primary breadwinner,&uot; she said. &uot;They don’t have a male influence.&uot;

Even if volunteers come once a month &045; to play basketball or volleyball with the students &045; that would be enough, Stephens said.

&uot;If I had a Christmas wish, it would be that the kids had someone in their life to look up to,&uot; Stephens said.

In addition to the need for volunteers, Boys & Girls Club needs money to repair its heating system and roof.

&uot;Maybe we could get someone to donate their time to fix it,&uot; she said.

A new game room, furnished with pool, ping pong and foosball tables, needs carpeting. &uot;We would take used carpet,&uot; Stephens said.

In addition to year-round needs, the club is getting some help from a local restaurant to make Christmas brighter for the members. Ryan’s Steakhouse is accepting gift donations from its patrons, which will be given to the club.

Boys & Girls Club of the Miss-Lou, which is just a year old, serves just over 300 children. With help from the Natchez-Adams School System, which can now bus children straight to the club after school, the numbers are growing, Stephens said.