Boys & Girls Club grows from dozens to hundreds of kids

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RANTOUL, Ill. (WCIA) — In less than two years since the Boys and Girls Club started in Rantoul, the number of kids they serve has skyrocketed from dozens to hundreds.

The Don Moyer Boys and Girls Club partnered with the school district to create a summer program in 2018. Its success launched the expansion for the after school programs at JW Eater and Pleasant Acres Elementary. Now more than 200 kids are enrolled.

Right after they get out of school, these students have a place to go and things to do. Andrew King works with them every day. He says, “The most important need is to support for these kids who are struggling with so many different things in life. It’s so nice to see the growth of having parent involvement, school support, having teachers come in to help tutor.”

They start the afternoon with homework. King says, “If they need tutoring, or to spend time reading, we have staff that are geared towards making sure our kids have success.” Then the kids get out some energy with games and activities. King says it can be “Anything from nature walks, dodge ball, learning how to play kickball or the real rules of basketball.”

The Boys and Girls Club also sends food home with the kids. Director Sam Banks says, “On a monthly basis we are able to provide fifty boxes of food for families who just need some extra food support or who may be really struggling with food insecurity.”

The success of the after school program is fueled by the enthusiasm of the students and the dedication of the staff that works so hard to help them. King says, “We care about their education and we care about their development. They know we are here and we have their back.”

It costs about $200,000 each year to run the programs between both schools in Rantoul. That’s paid for by grants and donations.

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