Tallahassee, FL - Unique Carper is one of many parents who utilize the Boys & Girls Club of the Big Bend every day. She even works there. The program has been a blessing for her and her husband.
"Nobody is home at three, both parents don't get off until 5:30 p.m. or 6:00 p.m.," said Carper.
But the after school safe haven is having to turn children away for the first time since it opened in 1992.
"It really breaks our heart that we have a waiting list now simply because of costs.Before I got here I know that we had 17 clubs and then they gradually had to keep closing clubs and we're down to four," said Theresa Flury, who has been the president and CEO of Boys & Girls Club of the Big Bend for two years.
The number of locations is down, but the number of children joining is up.
"Last year at this time we saw about 100 kids a day, today we see anywhere from 190 to 210 kids a day," said Flury about the location on Laura Lee Avenue alone.
The fee to enroll a child is $50 a month. But the cost to the organization runs up to $300 a child. There is a silver lining. The Boys & Girls Club of America has granted them a $100,000 matching grant. This means every dollar donated up to $100,000 the Boys & Girls Club of America will match.
That initiative was launched a month ago. So far, they've raised $22,000. It's a small amount so far but a step toward getting back to the reach they once had.
"A lot of people say we change lives, I really think we save them as well," said Flury.
Flury says 80% of their children come from single parent homes and 60% come from families below poverty level.
To find out how you can help you call the Boys & Girls Club of the Big Bend at 850-656-8100. Or go to their website bgcbb.org.
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