by Lisa Tome
Following a busy summer serving children in four locations, Cecil's Boys & Girls Clubs has again reduced their reach.
All the clubs are currently shut down. Clubs will open for after school programs at two locations beginning September 8. Charlestown Elementary and North East Elementary schools will be host sites for clubs from after school until 6 p.m.
According to Boys and Girls Clubs Director of Operations Kimberly Anders, the North East Club, which was well attended and is located next to North East Middle School, is closed for repairs. The hope is that it will reopen as a teen unit of the clubs in the future.
The Elkton Club shut down is temporary, explained Anders. "We want to open the club up. We are trying to raise money for scholarships (so children can attend). Scholarships are needed there," said Anders.
The New East club had lackluster attendance. The space was donated at an apartment complex. In Rising Sun, the board is looking for a location for the club to be held. The current building, on Colonial Way, is also used by a church. "We are exploring options for there," said Anders.
Only after school programming will be offered at the two school sites. Cost per child is $25 per week.
This year has been one of change for the clubs. All the clubs closed on April 2 for reorganization. A letter was sent to parents. "During tough economic times, Boys & Girls Clubs across the country are in great demand. Unfortunately, the financial uncertainty and diminishing pool of resources are creating operating challenges for some of our own local Clubs, and tough decisions have to be made. We are saddened to say that due to the current economic situation and decreased funding; Boys & Girls Clubs of Cecil County will be suspending operations..." at the three sites.
Days later, the club announced it would open sites in mid-June. The clubs opened for summer and participated in a summer meals program in cooperation with the school system. Another change came when longtime executive director Mary Jo Jablonski resigned her post.
Following that, the Board of Directors set up a Steering Committee to recruit a new executive director.
During this transition, board president Kathy Kunda, past board president Martha Barchowsky, and board member Cheryl Artyisiewica will support Director of Operations Kimberly Anders as the search for leadership continues.
The Boys and Girls Clubs moved their operations from Main Street in Elkton to Cecil College's Elkton Station.