Boys and Girls Club hosts open house in Donaldsonville

Logan Ridenour
Students participate in a game at the Boys and Girls Club Open House, Oct. 24. This team exercise of stacking cups is one of many they may participate in.

The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Baton Rouge hosted an open house at Lowery Elementary School on October 24.

The open house showcased the progress being made at the first Boys and Girls Club location in Ascension Parish. This pilot program includes 30 kids and will serve as a way to gauge the community desire and need for a Boys and Girls Club program in the parish.

The Boys and Girls Club received a grant to allow the program through this semester, and they hope for further funding to take them through spring. The goal is to see the program grow in the area. With the program being free to families participating, holding the program at Lowery Elementary School helps to keep costs down.

"One of our missions is that we want children to have a great childhood," Pat VanBurkleo, the President of Boys and Girls Club Greater Baton Rouge said.

Through activities offered like STEM programs, physical fitness, and arts and crafts, VanBurkleo said they traditionally see improvements in the way students perform in school.

The program also offers homework assistance called "Power Hour" and students rotate through activities each day.

"We're hoping that their school attendance improves, that their reading levels improve, and that their standardized testing scores will improve," said VanBurkleo.

"I think it's going to be a very, very positive impact on the kids," Robyn Penn Delaney, Ascension Public Schools board member, representing District One said. "They are able to come in and get ideas on how to be creative.

"They also have a lot of recreational opportunities, and they know how to bond with other students," she said. "So it's going to be a great experience for them."

She also said this program will provide a bit of relief for parents who won't have to worry about where their kids are after school. And with buses taking students home after the program, parents can ensure they have a safe way home.

"It's wonderful, I'm happy that it’s here," Delaney said. "And I hope it's going to be ongoing because it's much needed."