Commit to Kids - Boys and Girls Clubs of America - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Commit to Kids - Boys and Girls Clubs of America

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By Jeannie Prescott

Wausau (WAOW)-- Newsline 9 has partnered with Toyota of Wausau to begin a new monthly report on non-profits and other agencies in Central Wisconsin that are helping improve the lives of kids.

In this months report we take a look at The Boys and Girls Clubs of America and how they commit to kids.

As you walk into the Boys and Girls Club of Wausau, you're instantly drawn to the mass of kids playing pool, having an afternoon snack, shooting hoops and joking around with staff members.

8th grader and Boys and Girls Club of Wausau member, Ryan Milbeck says,  "It's a positive place....I feel like when you're here...you can socialize with people that are older....and you can start knowing more things about being older...People here are your age, they tend to talk to you the way you can understand. "

Brian Stezenski-Williams, Ph.D, Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of the Wausau Area says it's more than just a fun and safe place for kids to work and play...it's a building block for successful futures.

"The mission of the Boys and Girls Club is to inspire and enable youth of all backgrounds to become caring and productive community members and leaders...it's basically helping kids succeed, not only in the future, but in the present," Stezenski-Williams said.

Here in Wisconsin, there are 28 clubs serving about 140,000 to150, 000 kids a year. Each club is unique but the theme is common, getting kids involved, inspired and out of the house.

4th grader, Alora Stachowiak says, "there is more stuff to do here than at home."

7th grader Casey Benaszeski agrees, "I think I would be at home on the couch."

Boys and Girls Club of Wausau's Youth of the Year, and high school student Brittany Moua says, "It's a good place to be to get homework done, hang out with friends and get out of the house for awhile."

"It's kids who need us...they need a safe place, they need that positive relationship and ongoing guidance with adults ... it's not replacing parents, we're simply providing additional adults in their lives that provide them with that positive guidance and support," says Stezenski-Williams.

That positive guidance and support is made up of a well trained staff, many with education backgrounds.

"They help the kids grow over time and develop that sense of focus, confidence, sense of belonging to the club and the community, "says Stezenski-Willliams.

According to The Boys and Girls Club of Wausau, in 2007, the Club had a record 1,800+ members. The average daily attendance is more than 100 youth in Wausau and 50 youth at the DC Everest Greenheck Field House.

With the work the Club does in the Wausau and D.C. Everest School Districts, the Boys & Girls Club reaches over 9,000 youth annually.

There are two sites in the Wausau area, the Caroline S. Mark B&GC and the DC Everest Greenheck Field House B&GC. They are open for kids five days a week a minimum of five hours a day during the school year and five days a week and ten hours a day during the summer.

Five other clubs are located in central Wisconsin: Wisconsin Rapids; Portage County, Wausau, Langlade County and Neopit.

The Wausau Boys and Girls Club is open now for after school activities. It opens for the summer Tuesday, June 9 at 11:30am.

SUMMER CLUB HOURS:

7am-5:30pm Monday through Friday

SUMMER PROGRAMS:

Skate Park open 1-4

Art Room open from 9-noon and 1-5

Free lunch is provided during the summer.

Annual membership is $20 per kid and $45 for a family with three or more kids.

Scholarships are available.

For more information on summer programs and/or joining the Boys and Girls Club in Wausau, visit The Boys and Girls Club of The Wausau Area

or call (715) 845-2582.

The Boys and Girls Clubs of America

Online Reporter: Jeannie Prescott

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