News 12 This Morning / Monday, Sept. 10, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Boys and Girls Clubs across Augusta are filled to capacity, some even having waiting lists, but a new grant they received is helping them out. It is giving them $500,000 a year to fund programs over the next five years.
Its called the 21st Century Community Learning Center's grant. The money they are receiving is helping fund educational programs at all three locations, buying netbooks for the kids and a whole lot more.
Erika Chambers has been teaching at the Boys and Girls Clubs for one year.
"We try to serve our kids and teach them things that they might not have in a regular school system, or even at home, such as our computers, our laptops just anything that can help them educational wise," she said.
She and the other teachers help around 160 kids on a daily basis at the EW Hagler Club in Harrisburg.
"That is a lot of kids and it gets a bit overwhelming, but it's OK. We love it here and they love it here and we just like the fact that they wanna be here," she said.
In fact, so many kids want to be there that they have a waiting list.
"We filled up our clubs so quickly this year. I mean, just in days, we had waiting lists at the clubs," said Education Program Coordinator Andra Syms.
This year, to help fund all the kids, three clubs in the area received a 21st Century grant.
"The grant is wonderful. It's perfect and we definitely need it," Chambers said. "Without the grants, my position wouldn't be here. It wouldn't be available."
Fifth grader Keon Fuller says the teachers make his homework much easier.
"They're nice, they're fun and they help when we need help," he said.
They even have events for the parents.
"If they need to check their students' grades on the computer or and they don't have access then they're welcome to come in through the club directors and our family liaisons and they're allowed to use computers as well. So it not only serves the students, but it serves the families as well," Syms said.
But it's not all about education. It's about keeping kids in a safe and fun environment after school.
The grant is given by the Georgia Department of Education. The Boys and Girls Club has received this grant twice in the past, and say with the grant, they have seen an increase in the CRCT scores of the kids who regularly attend the programs.
As for the waiting lists, the EW Hagler club in Harrisburg is planning to expand the building and at least double the amount of kids they can serve. They say there are over 900 kids in this neighborhood they can serve, but they only have 240 spots, which right now are all full. They are going to be starting fundraising for the expansion this fall.