MASSENA A committee is forming to work on bringing a Boys and Girls Club to Massena, according to Police Chief Timmy J. Currier.
Mr. Currier was pleased that about 24 people attended an informational meeting about the organization Tuesday at Massena Town Hall.
I am further encouraged by the many people that support the concept of doing something in Massena to give kids an alternative, he wrote in an email message.
Creating a new club is worthwhile and challenging, said David R. Ross, regional service director for the Boys and Girls Clubs 11-state Northeast sector. He spoke at the meeting, which Neighborhood Watch sponsored.
A typical club offers a computer center with educational programming, game room and activity room or gym, Mr. Ross said. Once youre through the door, the world opens up, he said. Theres always at least three or four things that are going on at the same time.
The club has hundreds of branches across the country, Mr. Ross said. It serves 4 million children nationwide. The clubs have succeeded in giving children a place to call home and a way to avoid criminal activity.
This has worked and continues to work because the focus is on kids, he said. It takes the commitment of a community to support another nonprofit organization.
That commitment can be challenging. Purchasing a building to house a club is the easy part, Mr. Ross said.
To be accepted in the national organization and receive trained support staff, a local chapter must have a years worth of operating expenses in the bank.
The smallest operating budget in Mr. Rosss district is $130,000, while the largest is $5 million.
The smallest has about 40 members and operates in an area not much larger than the Massena Town Halls meeting room, he said.
But fundraising, grants and other funding sources can make funding a club more feasible, he said. Ogdensburgs club, for example, funds one-third of its operating expenses through fundraisers.
Incorporating and starting a club takes 18 to 36 months, Mr. Ross said. He offered his support in helping Massena establish a group.
The steering committee will work to offer more activities to Massenas youth, be it through a Boys and Girls Club or otherwise, Mr. Currier said.
I believe most of us recognize investing in our kids is a good down payment on their future and ensures a brighter future for Massena, he said. We now have to work our way toward finding the best solution to this problem and making it happen.
Anyone with an interest in joining the steering committee can call Mr. Currier at the police station at 769-3577 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.