Boys & Girls Club thanks donors

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 17, 2009

As this year’s president of the Mississippi Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs and a 15-year volunteer with our local club, it is my pleasure to tell your readers about our clubs, our professional staffs and the thousands of youth lives we touch every day.

Recent press stories about possible club closures may have raised a few eyebrows about the financial status of our clubs throughout the state, and it is my hope to increase awareness about the needs of all of our clubs.

Boys & Girls Clubs bill themselves as the “Positive Place for Kids.”

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And for 8,000 children a day in our state, this is so true! Once kids get out of school and enter our clubs’ doors, they are exposed to academic tutoring, homework help, character education courses, business leader mentors and even physical activities and sports.

Our history is replete with stories of adults of all social backgrounds who acknowledge the club saved their lives when they were younger.

Our Youth of the Year winners regularly go to and excel in college and even professional schools all over the country. But our youth every day experience a positive, constructive environment in which they find friends, mentors and confidence in themselves.

However, like most non-profit organizations today, many of our clubs are facing funding shortfalls.

But this is no different today than it has been throughout our history. Our clubs have depended on individual contributions and government funding in a public/private partnership for many, many years.

We are grateful to Gov. Barbour, the members of the legislature, and the staff of DHS including Director Don Thompson for the support we’ve received from our state officials.

But we are also most grateful for our private donors around the state.

If you have ever donated to a Boys & Girls Club in Corinth or Natchez or Clarksdale or Meridian or Gulfport or anywhere else in our state, YOU are our lifeblood.

Thank you for your vitally important support!

If there is a club in your town but you have never been a part of our organization, we implore you to donate your time and your money.

We need both. And we need it in every one of our 75 clubs across our great state. Please, get involved today and touch the life of an at-risk child.

As I have been now for 15 years, you will be glad you did.

Ronnie Sleeper

president, board of directors

Mississippi Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs