Adriana and Briana love after-school hours best

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 19, 2006

Natchez &8212; Walking into the Boys and Girls Club on a weekday after about 3 p.m. has the same effect as taking a big gulp of really strong coffee. Five days a week, kids &8212; with bundles of &8220;the-school-day-is-finally-over&8221; energy &8212; gather to participate in such activities as coloring, step-dancing and racing up and down the basketball court.

Faye Minor, director of programs, estimates that on a normal day, there are about 87 first- and second-graders, and about 35 participate in the teen program.

&8220;This is really a safe-haven for kids and parents. It&8217;s important for parents to know that kids are safe, are being taken care of and are happy. The kids love coming here.&8221; Minor said.

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Two kids who look forward to going to the club every day after school are seven-year-old twins Adriana and Briana Swearengen.

&8220;I get to draw, watch TV, eat snacks and play,&8221; said Adriana.

Briana agrees that the after-school activities are a lot of fun.

&8220;I like to learn here,&8221; she said. &8220;I&8217;ve learned how to dance&8221;

Their mom, Nikki, says that the Boys and Girls Club is really a blessing.

&8220;The teachers help them with their homework. And I know they even check it because I go behind them to make sure it&8217;s all done,&8221; she said.

Adriana and Briana go to Frazier Primary School, and are able to ride a bus from school to the Boys and Girls Club.

&8220;It really helps me out,&8221; said Nikki, a hard-working mom who picks up the twins around 5 p.m. each evening. &8220;And the girls love coming. They cried (three days) this week when they couldn&8217;t come.&8221;

New to the area from Texas, Adriana and Briana have made a lot of friends at the club, too.

&8220;I&8217;ve made at least ten new friends,&8221; Briana said, pointing at all the girls at her table.

Nikki agrees. &8220;The phone rings off the hook. They get more phone calls from friends than I do.&8221;