Hartsville Boys and Girls Club unveils renovations

By Melissa Rollins, Editor, editor@newsandpress.net

On July 12, the Hartsville Boys and Girls Club held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the newly renovated club. As part of the Leadership Hartsville Class of 2018 service project, members of the class raised money and did work around the club.

Cathy Thomas, a Leadership Hartsville member, spoke to everyone gathered at the club after they took a tour and saw the work that had been done.

“We were inspired on our History Day back in October,” Thomas said. “We learned about the history of Butler (where the BGC is located) and how important it was to the community. Some of my classmates did not know that the Boys and Girls Club of Hartsville was here in this location. We wanted to make this a location that people in the community can be proud of. We want people to know that the Boys and Girls Club is here.”

Thomas said that the work the class did was to make the space even more inviting for the kids who spend time there.

“It has been brightened up a little bit so that when the kids come here they are energized, ready to learn and have a great experience here,” Thomas said. “We added panels (to the front of the building) honoring the history of this building. You saw some of the other things that we did, the décor, new furnishings, the painting. And this is only the beginning; we have some more things in the works. We are preparing to install an awning in the next few weeks. Also, with some of the money that was donated, we purchases some supplies to help keep up the work in the coming years.”

Club Director Dianne Montgomery explained to everyone present a little bit about what the club offers and who can be a member.

“This club has been here since December 1999,” Montgomery said. “This is my tenth school year here. I plan to retire here at this club. I have made it my home and I am very passionate about the children here in Hartsville. We have kids from all over. We have kids from Darlington, Hartville, Lamar. We are becoming very diverse.”

The program is available to everyone, Montgomery said, though some students receive a discount.

“Students who go to Thornwell and Washington Street Elementary, they come all year, all summer, at no cost to their parents,” Montgomery said. “In summer, kids get a free field trip on Friday. We take 40 kids and we go to places like the zoo, the aquarium; it has to be an educational field study. We just took a group of kids to Ripley’s Aquarium for free. For kids who do not attend Thornwell or Washington Street it costs $20 to be a member here.”

Montgomery said that the club relies a lot on donations and grants because they want to be accessible to all families.

“We could make a lot of money if we charged $40-50 a week but then we couldn’t reach the kids who really need us: the latchkey kids,” Montgomery said. “Those are the kids who we are trying to protect, the kids who would be home alone or wandering the streets until mom gets home from work.”

A majority of the kids who are members come during their afterschool program. The summer program is still robust academically though, Montgomery said, because the staff wants to be sure that their students are ready for the next school year.

“During the summer, we do some intensive activities with the kids,” Montgomery said. “We have a program going on called BrainGame, which is a Boys and Girls Club national program to help with the summer learning loss. Each week they take a book and they do activities and projects that go along with the book. We try to make sure that 2-3 times a week everyone gets a chance to do some physical education; everybody gets a chance to enjoy the game room. We have the educational components that they have to do so we try to make sure that its not program, program; it is program, fun, program, fun. A lot of what we call high-end learning activities like math baseball. They aren’t sitting here doing a worksheet. They are learning math but they are moving around, playing a game; they don’t even know what we’re doing to them.”

Author: Stephan Drew

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