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Toombs County Boys & Girls Club Visits Kiwanis

Toombs County Boys & Girls Club Visits Kiwanis
REPRESENTING THEIR CLUB – Toombs County Boys and Girls Club Members Mammie Rose Day (left) and Rashad Kent (right) spoke to the Vidalia Kiwanis Club about their adventures with the Club.
Toombs County Boys & Girls Club Visits Kiwanis
REPRESENTING THEIR CLUB – Toombs County Boys and Girls Club Members Mammie Rose Day (left) and Rashad Kent (right) spoke to the Vidalia Kiwanis Club about their adventures with the Club.

Representatives from the Toombs County Boys and Girls Club visited the Vidalia Kiwanis Club on Tuesday, June 25, as the group spoke to Kiwanians about the role of the Club in the community.

“We are here to provide a safe and positive environment for the kids,” Club Director Marcy Lane Williams emphasized. “We are in our 3rd week of summer camp, and we are serving anywhere from 130-170 kids for the summer. During the regular school year hours, we have a total of 317 kids on our roster. That is a lot of kids coming from this community and our school system. One day, they will be in the workforce working for your companies and businesses; great futures are starting at the Boys and Girls Club, and that’s what we are here for.”

She continued, sharing that both the summer camp and afterschool programs are currently thriving at the Club. “One thing I can say is that we have had a great retention number within the community and with our kids, and the program actually has grown over the last few years,” she added.

After introducing the Club, Williams invited two current middle school students who are active Club Members to share their experiences with the organization.

“To me, what the Vidalia Boys and Girls Club is having fun, making new friends, and exploring,” Club Member Mammie Rose Day remarked. “These past few weeks have been filled with a lot of adventures. I have made a lot of new friends – one being Rashad. Just this last week, we visited Southern Pines Water Park in Dublin. Before we visited a nursing home, where we performed a song and wrote cards. It made me feel good to see the smiles on their faces. We also went to STC, where we saw a magic show, and birds and snakes – that has been really cool.” Day summarized, “For me, this program has given me a chance to have fun and make new friends, and for that, I am very grateful.”

Club Member Rashad Kent shared similar remarks. “What the Boys and Girls Club means to me is exploring new things and making new friends,” he echoed, before going on to explain that not only did the club provide the group with these friends and experiences, but also fed them two meals a day and provided two snacks.

He continued, “We’ve been going to field trips daily. We make new friends, we explore new things, and we learn more about each other.”

Director Williams explained to the audience that the group had truly accomplished many activities which helped the students to see new places, try new things, and learn about a variety of things from STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) to how to interact with each other. She said that the group often attended library programs, such as the magic show and Georgia Southern University Wildlife Center demonstration, and planned to continue to attend more of these weekly events. However, it was the group’s trip to the nursing home that Williams said had the greatest impact so far.

“We have been invited back to the nursing home. I think that was such a great experience for the kids – it taught them about compassion, and they were able to interact with not just the staff but the attendants who were there at the nursing home. It definitely brought smiles to everyone’s faces,” she reflected.

Currently, the Club is working to prepare these youth for their futures, as they implement programming to encourage the students to make smart decisions, help transition into adulthood, learn how to complete applications, and more. Williams informed the group that soon, the Club would travel to Georgia Southern University to expose the kids to the possibility of a college education and will host Toombs County SafeKids Coordinator Robert Tillman to teach the club members about first aid and safety.

“We are operating without a CEO right now, as ours has retired, but we are working together to keep the club exactly where it needs to be and expanding,” Williams explained. “We’re just going to continue to elevate and welcome more kids in. Do we worry about space and more capacity? Probably in around a year or so, yes. If we continue to grow the way we are growing, we are going to need more room.”

She encouraged the Kiwanians to reach out to the Club if they ever had an event in which they would like the Club to help. “We are always up for any type of community partnerships to do anything with the community,” Williams stressed.

When asked how the public could help the Toombs County Boys and Girls Club, Williams answer was simple: “We need funding. In the past years, we had a very, very long donors list that we would reach out to every year, but in the past year, it has definitely decreased. Also, any other things that you think could be used by the Boys and Girls Club is welcome – any equipment or anything,” she shared.

The Toombs County Boys and Girls Club is split between two locations – the main unit at 707 East Third Street in Vidalia, and the J.D. Rabun Unit at 405 East Grady Avenue in Lyons. For more information on these locations or the Club, call (912) 5388899.

MAKING FRIENDS AND EXPLORING NEW THINGS – Toombs County Boys and Girls Club Member Rashad Kent speaks to the Vidalia Kiwanis Club about the new friends he has gained and new things he has explored during his time with the Club.Photo by Makaylee Randolph

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