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Massena committee forming to explore Boy’s and Girl’s Club

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MASSENA- A committee is forming to work on bringing a Boy’s and Girl’s Club to Massena, according to Police Chief Timmy J. Currier.

Mr. Currier was pleased that approximately two dozen people attended an informational meeting about the organization earlirt this week at the Massena Town Hall.

“I am further encouraged by the many people that support the concept of doing something in Massena to give kids an alternative,” he said in an email.

Creating a new club is both worthwhile and challenging, according to Dave Ross, regional services director for the Boys and Girls Club’s 11-state Northeast sector. He spoke at Tuesday’s informational meeting sponsored by Neighborhood Watch.

A typical club offers a computer center with educational programming, game room, and some type of activity room or gym, he said.

“Once you’re through the door, the world opens up. There’s always at least three or four things that are going on at the same time,” he said.

“The key to making them successful doesn’t have anything to do with the facilities,” he said. “The kids have a place to call their own.” The Boy’s and Girl’s Club has hundreds of branches, including Ogdennsburg, across the country, Mr. Ross said. It serves four million children nationwide. The clubs have succeeding in giving children a place to call home and a reason to avoid criminal activity.

“This has worked and continues to work because the focus is on kids,” he said. “It takes the commitment of a community to support another non-profit organization.”

That commitment can be challenging. Purchasing a building to house a club is the easy part, Mr. Ross said. To be accepted in the national organization and receive trained support staff, a local chapter must have a year’s worth of operating expenses in the bank.

The smallest operating budget in Mr. Ross’ district is $130,000, while the largest is $5 million. The smallest has approximately 40 members and operates in an area not much larger than the Massena Town Hall’s meeting room, he said. \

But fundraising, grants and other funding sources can make funding a club more feasible, he said. Ogdensburg’s club, for example, funds one-third of its operating expenses through fundraisers.

Incorporating and starting a club takes between 18 and 36 months, Mr. Ross said. He offered his support in helping Massena to establish a group.

The steering committee will work to offer more activities to Massena’s youth, be it through a Boy’s and Girl’s Club or otherwise, Mr. Currier said.

“Be it a Boy’s and Girl’s club, an expansion of an existing program or something else, I believe most of us recognize investing in our kids is a good down payment on their future and ensures a brighter future for Massena,” he said. “We now have to work our way toward finding the best solution to this problem and making it happen.”

Anyone with an interest in joining the steering committee can contact Mr. Currier at the police station at 769-3577 or email him at chief@police.massena.ny.us.

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