Boys and Girls Club looking to expand to Rowan County

Published 12:05 am Wednesday, June 8, 2022

SALISBURY — A local branch of a major nonprofit could make an impact on hundreds of local kids with an expansion to Rowan County.

Boys and Girls Club of the Piedmont is exploring facilities and looking for local approval to bring its after-school programs to Rowan County.

The branch is based in Statesville and runs a satellite center in a Mooresville elementary school. It serves about 550 students in Iredell County.

Charles Patton said the organization offers tutoring, meals, book bags, supplies, teachers to help individuals and groups as well as “good old-fashioned love.”

“We do a lot more than that as well,” Patton said.

Patton said the programs in Iredell have improved the academics for its students in the 14 years the club has been the district has been highly-ranked for years.

“We know we can do the same for Rowan County,” Patton said.

Rowan-Salisbury Schools Interim Superintendent Jason Gardner visited the Statesville center in May but could not immediately be reached for comment. Patton said the next step is to get approval from local officials. The group is examining a few possible locations: Park Plaza and an undisclosed location in central Salisbury.

“We just need to be invited,” Patton said. “We have a strong desire to be there.”

Patton noted the old mall facility could accommodate a large number of students in one place. He said if nonprofit gets the go ahead, it would take a full year to get its regular programs set up, but it would be able to start sending tutors to individual schools this coming school year. Tutoring focuses on the core subjects: math, reading and science, and the program teaches core values like ethics and scholarship.

There are other activities like art and recreation on offer as well as a snack and a meal. The branch runs an eight-week summer camp as well.

“It’s a good, wholesome, safe place for kids to be and it really addresses the academic needs as well as the social emotional needs of the kids.” Piedmont Club Development Director Brady Johnson said.

Johnson retired as superintendent of Iredell-Statesville Schools a few years ago and was superintendent when the club was formed. He said the program is particularly beneficial for low-performing schools and gives them hours of exposure to a good environment to learn in.

Piedmont Club Director of Operations NaKayla Griffin said the programs have expanded to schools throughout Iredell County over the years and pointed to instances where the organization targeted student populations with the most need, including expanding to a rural elementary school without easy access to tutoring programs.

Johnson said the organization pursues grant funding for its program and has a 21st Century Community Learning Centers Grant from the U.S. Department of Education. It also works with foundations throughout the country, holds fundraising events throughout the school year and asks for private donations. He said all of the organization’s services are offered at no or minimal cost.

About Carl Blankenship

Carl Blankenship has covered education for the Post since December 2019. Before coming to Salisbury he was a staff writer for The Avery Journal-Times in Newland and graduated from Appalachian State University in 2017, where he was editor of The Appalachian.

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