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Boys & Girls Club keeps kids busy

This summer, many Oxford and Lafayette County children will beg their parents for suggestions to end their boredom.

However, some will stay busy at the L.O.U. Barksdale Boys & Girls Club.

Booneville native Amy Goodin, 26, moved to Oxford in 2008 to pursue her bachelor’s degree in English. After completing her English degree in 2013, she joined the Mississippi Teacher Corps and taught seventh grade at Quitman County Middle School in Marks for one year and sixth grade at Byhalia Middle School in Byhalia for one year.

In May 2015, she graduated with a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction and joined the staff of the Oxford Boys & Girls Club in June of 2015. She has lived in Oxford for the past eight years and she is now the unit director of the Boys & Girls Club of Oxford.

The Oxford club will offer a six-week summer program that will run June 6 to July 15, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The club accepts children ages 6-18, and the program is run by trained staff and volunteers.

“This summer, we have a wide variety of activities that will appeal to all interests,” Goodin said. “We will have Power Hour that will help to prevent summer brain (drain), team building activities, outside and inside recreation, programs to promote healthy eating and fitness, and field trips,” she said. “We will also have guest speakers to present on abstaining from drugs and alcohol, healthy lifestyles, history and art.”

Goodin said 200 children will be enrolled this summer between the ages of 6-18.

“There is always a wait list, so the sooner children are enrolled the better,” she said.

They are accepting applications now. The application packet is available at the Boys & Girls Club clubhouse, located at 413 Washington Ave. The fee is $100 for the first child, $75 for the second and $50 for the third.

“We hope that participants grow in all areas of life during our summer program,” Goodin said. “We want them to gain knowledge, have fun, experience new opportunities and engage in activities that promote lifelong healthy habits. At the same time, parents can rest assured that their children are in a safe and positive environment with a supportive and caring staff.”

Goodin said the Oxford, Lafayette and university communities are always generous, but the Boys & Girls Club is still in need of many items to help members. Snacks, water, paper, pencils and art supplies are always appreciated.

She said breakfast and lunch are both provided during the six weeks by the Oxford School District’s Summer Feeding Program at no additional cost to members. 

“The Boys & Girls Club is the nation’s largest mentoring program,” Goodin said. “We focus on academics success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. We work hard to make sure our members are well-rounded individuals, who can make a positive impact on the world around them.”

Goodin said caring and considerate staff members are their biggest asset.

“Having our members know that there is someone who will notice if they have a bad day, who will ask how they did on their test, who they can trust, and who will care if they are facing an issue is the most important service we can offer to any child,” Goodin said.

About LaReeca Rucker

LaReeca Rucker is a writer, reporter and adjunct journalism instructor at the University of Mississippi's Meek School of Journalism and New Media.

A veteran journalist with more than 20 years of experience, she spent a decade at the Gannett-owned Clarion-Ledger - Mississippi's largest daily newspaper - covering stories about crime, city government, civil rights, social justice, religion, art, culture and entertainment for the paper's print and web editions. She was also a USA Today contributor.

This year, she received a first place award from the Mississippi Press Association for “Best In-Depth Investigative Reporting.” The story written in 2014 for The Oxford Eagle chronicles the life of a young mother with two sons who have epilepsy, and details how she is patiently hoping legalized cannabis oil experimentation will lead to a cure for their disorder.

Her website is www.lareecarucker.com.

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