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Club offers after school scholarships

One hundred lucky students will receive free membership to the Boys & Girls Club of Beaufort County for the entire 2012-2013 school year though the club’s 21st Century Community Learning Grant.
Fifty school-aged children at the Washington Boys & Girls Club unit, 30 from Belhaven unit and 20 students signing up through the Washington Housing Authority will be eligible for the full scholarships on a first come, first served basis, said Walter Lanham, marketing director for the club.
“The purpose is just to expend as much of an opportunity to the kids who really need (the scholarships),” Lanham explained. “It opens a door to give them a chance to maybe learn things they wouldn’t learn at school and also reinforce what they are learning in school.”
Each year, between 60 and 75 boys and girls drop in after school at the Washington club, said Lanham. They head into a full after-school schedule: “Power hour” leads it off, where children do homework with the assistance of tutors, if needed. An exercise and fitness hour, “Triple play,” comes next, with options including basketball and learning other sports from a guest athlete. Computer instruction, art classes and mentoring services are available as the afternoon wears on.
Fees normally run $50 from signup until Nov. 1, then $50 a month for the rest of the academic year, but through the limited scholarships, they would be waived entirely.
“We’ve had the 21st Century grant for several years now — we’ve always offered scholarships under it,” Lanham said. “We’re just trying to bring more attention to it this year.”
In order to receive the federal grant money being used for the scholarships, the Boys & Girls Club is required to facilitate programs to help students meet five goals: academic success at school; learn to value public service as part of public citizenship; make positive leisure-time choices that will limit time for and access to antisocial behavior such as gang membership; drug use and violence, display appropriate behavior in a variety of settings; and teach members’ caregivers to be an active part in their child’s success.
According to Lanham, success, and a sense of belonging, is what the 21st Century scholarships will enable at the Boys & Girls Club: “We really do feel like we’re reaching out to give people a place to go where they are wanted,” he said. “It’s almost like a separate family.”
For more information, call the Boys and Girls Club at 252-975-9311 (Washington) or 252-943-3233 (Belhaven). The scholarship does not apply to some Beaufort County Schools students.