“When you think about what’s happened here for these children, there’s an opportunity for an eternity of impact. In time, your organization is going to change the lives of hundreds of thousands of children,” Tom Hough, regional service director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America told Rotarians Wednesday.
He applauded the success of the Boys & Girls Club of Phillips County and all the organization’s accomplishments in just three short years.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of America has over 4.8 million boys and girls as club members and 4,300 Club locations with 64 sites in Arkansas.
The B&G Club on Plaza is the newest in the state and a leader among the ones located in small communities said Hough.
Hough has 35 years with the organization and grew up in the club. He went to college on a B&G Club scholarship.
Hough said that some clubs had been operating for 60 years and didn’t have the same programs offered by the Phillips County Club.
“That’s why the kids keep coming back. The reality is, they’re there because they want to be,” he said.
Hough said the Club here was “impressive” and when his office received the Club’s annual report, his office used it as a model to the other clubs.
Hough talked about Jason Rolett, executive director of the Phillips County club, and his character development program.
“Y’all have a unique opportunity here,” he said.
“We’ve become the school district’s best friend and the parent’s best friend. What you’ve done here is eliminate some problems in the community. You’ve taken kids off the streets and given them something to do,” Hough said.
He talked about how children need to learn and grow in a safe environment, like the one B&G Clubs provide.
“They’re (children) safe. They’re learning. They have a place to grow. When they can get all that, it’s excellent.”
He encouraged everyone in the community to “get on the wagon” and support the B&G Club of Phillips County.
“It’s unbelievable what you’ve done,” he commented.
He shared that one Phillips County member was running for the Youth of the Year award on a national level. If that member wins, he or she could gain $35,000 in scholarships after competing at regional, state and national levels.
“I am so impressed with this organization and this community,” complimented Hough.
The B&G Club of Phillips County has been so successful, four other communities in the Arkansas Delta now want to open up B&G Clubs in their town.
B&G Clubs across the nation are expecting an increase in membership because of economic woes, explained Hough as parents and grandparents try and secure affordable after school care.