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Club can be a tool for change

A thriving Boys and Girls Club can have a significant impact on the future of a community.

The clubs give children a place to go to after school and in the summer. The old cliché about idle hands is often true, and the clubs provide activities to keep hands busy.

The local club offers a variety of activities and programs, according to director Melanie Lewis. It’s our hope that the club will continue to function as a safe place for area youth. We also hope the club can expand its offerings to give more children the opportunity to participate.

The club’s budget is a fraction of what it once was. In 2001, the club showed revenue of $118,000. The most recent data shows revenue of about $28,000, which likely doesn’t go very far. According to the Secretary of State’s database on Mississippi charities, the club’s expenses are all categorized as “administrative expenses” with zero dollars categorized as “program services.” It was unclear if this was a filing mistake.  We certainly hope so. Any funds that the club has should be spent on providing programs.

The club seems to have been more active in the past. We suspect that’s likely due to the funding situation. It’s difficult to do as much with $28,000 compared to more than $100,000. Most charities have seen donations drop in the past decade. But this is an organization that can help change the future of Brookhaven and Lincoln County.

“One of the biggest differences you can make is to invest in a Boys and Girls Club,” Randy Tate with the Boys and Girls Club of Southwest Mississippi said. “I guarantee you, you’re going to see crime rates go down, teenage pregnancy go down. It is just a tool to help in so many different ways.”

We agree with Tate, and we hope the local club can continue to be a tool for positive change.