PORTSMOUTH– After decades of absence in the community, the Boys and Girls Club is returning with new locations at Portsmouth High School and the South Central Ohio Educational Service Center. The clubs will be open after school each day from 2:30 p.m. until 6 p.m. Kids will be provided a meal, and participation is completely free.
The Boys and Girls Club is a national organization which was formally founded in 1931. Its mission is to enable all young people to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens by creating safe environments for students to come for homework help, fun activities, or just socializing with friends. A local chapter of Boys and Girls once existed in Scioto County, but closed its doors decades ago.
Now the organization, Boys and Girls Clubs of Scioto County, is returning with locations at Portsmouth High School under the supervision of Director Briana Brown and Assistant Director Len Collins. Another location is also being added at the South Central Ohio Educational Service (ESC) Center in New Boston under the supervision of Director Karen Davis and Assistant Director Chad Morris.
“The club was put here in Portsmouth High School as a place for kids to come after school and also in the summer. We serve kids currently in grades 6-12 and we do things such as STEM and art clubs, we do social emotional development activities called Smart Moves,” Brown said. “We also do something called Keystone Club, which is like community service projects, and we also have a career readiness program for juniors and seniors.”
Students will be grouped by their grade level, and stations will be set up throughout the cafeteria at Portsmouth High School for them to take part in structured activities. While seniors are playing in the gym, another group might be doing art, and the groups rotate throughout the stations.
“We check in on the students and make sure everyone is having fun, because if it’s not fun or if it feels too much like school, then we want to redirect and find something they are interested in. We have a website that has lots of things we can plan,” Davis said.
Portsmouth Superintendent Scott Dutey said it was an easy decision for the school to open its doors to the organization.
“The timing of this was perfect because we’ve been able for the last few years to utilize grant funding to create an after-school program for our kids, and those dollars are now gone. The first week of April would have been our last week, so that coincides with when they are going to start the Boys and Girls Club. Hopefully, it’s a seamless transition for a lot of the kids that’s been involved,” Dutey said.
To register for the Boys and Girls Club at Portsmouth High School, families can visit online at www.bgcneo.org, or find links on the Boys and Girls Clubs of Scioto County Facebook page. For more information about Portsmouth City Schools, visit them online at www.portsmouthtrojans.net, or follow the school’s page on Facebook.