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Village board voices support for Massena Boys & Girls Club

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MASSENA - The Massena Village Board voted unanimously Tuesday to throw itssupport behind a Boys & Girls Club in Massena, which steering committee members hope to have open by May.

Massena Village Police Chief Timmy J. Currier, who chairs the club’s board, gave a presentation to the village board detailing the effort that has led to a prospective Boys & Girls Club in the former St. Joseph’s Social Hall, Bayley Road. He noted the formation of a club was first suggested back in 2011 by the Neighborhood Watch Committee.

“We have traditionally been thought of as a retirement community, but that’s not true,” Mr. Currier said.

Citing statistics from the most recent U.S. census, Mr. Currier said 16 percent of Massena’s population is 65 or older, while 23 percent is 18 or under.

“I’ve long believed that there are three reasons kids get into trouble,” he said. “They don’t have good peer influences, they don’t have good adult influences or they don’t have anything to do. This will take care of all three.”

Mr. Currier also noted one in four children in Massena are living in poverty, with 51 percent of the school district’s students qualifying for free and reduced lunches.The district suspended 104 students last year, and while Mr. Currier said its 76 percent graduation rate was above the state average, he noted that boys and girls club alumni have a graduation rate of 90 percent.

Capital Campaign Manager Bill Wolf said that while Massena’s club will belong to the Massena community, one of the good things about the Boys & Girls Club of America is the network of support that comes from the national organization and clubs all over the country.

“It comes with a lot of backup support,” he said, noting that one thing that sets the Boys and Girls Club apart from other organizations is that the clubhouse is dedicated solely for the use of children.

“It’s their home,” he said. “It’s a place they don’t have to share with adults.

And while Mr. Wolf said volunteers will be important to the success of the organization, he noted the club will be supervised by paid and trained staff. “Our kids will have the benefit of the best trained staff available,” he said.

Mayor James F. Hidy said each year he participates in a golf outing with Thomas P. Luckie Jr., who is the executive director of the Ogdensburg Boys & Girls Club.

“That club is the cement in their community,” Mr. Hidy said. “He literally has to kick the kids out of there at night.”

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