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Boys and Girls Clubs offer Steady, Supportive Friendship

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The Boys and Girls Clubs of North Mississippi has resumed programing at their five clubhouses, including the L.O.U. Barksdale Boys and Girls Clubhouse in Oxford, but COVID-19 restrictions have affected the number of children served and increased the need for funding and supplies.

Only 60 children ages 6 to 18 can attend the club’s afterschool and summer activities at one time – less than half the usual number of youths served daily, said Unit Director Kenorus Wilson. Activities including sporting lessons and support services like tutoring and mentoring have also had to be modified to comply with safety precautions but the focus has remained on making a positive difference in the lives of youth every day. “The pandemic has allowed us to rethink things and build on what we pride ourselves in: educational and enrichment activities,” Wilson said.

“It takes a village, one child at a time,” Wilson added, noting “Supportive relationships go outside the four walls,” and staff have remained in touch with youths who are unable to be at the club. Helping youth to feel positive about themselves at home and at school is important to building confidence and helping them make good decisions and reach their true potential.

The community has rallied to support clubs during this time, but more help is needed. Monetary donations to cover activity fees and supplies, utilities and transportation are needed. Community members can also donate snack foods, gift cards, hand sanitizer, masks, and cleaning supplies. To donate specific items, contact the LOU Barksdale Boys and Girls Club directly at kwilson@bgcnms.org. Monetary donations can be made to the organization via BGCMS.org. Follow it on Facebook at Boys and Girls Clubs of North Mississippi.