Community rallies to reopen Jackson Street Boys & Girls Club summer 2016
Community members rallied Friday morning to reopen a shuttered Wilmington Boys & Girls Club.
The Jackson Street Boys & Girls Club has been closed since 2010.
But Hedgeville Civic Association president Heather Taylor remembers when her daughter benefited from summer and after-school programs there when she was 11. She’s 23 now.
“I’m used to seeing different programs in our neighborhood that different children can go to instead of being on the streets," Taylor said. "When we went to the Boys and Girls Club of North Wilmington they always had arts and crafts, they had cooking classes, they had computers, they had reading, you had people come visit and they also helped you with your homework. Before care, after care...”
Taylor says the Jackson Street club used to serve well over 50 kids: and she’d like to see it back to full capacity serving the community and helping kids stay out of crime.
She says neighborhood kids ages 5- 13 have nowhere to go and just wander the streets. The Civic Association has worked closely with Wilmington City Councilwoman Sherry Dorsey to bring attention to the issue.
But they’re not the only ones concerned.
Tyrone Black has lived in Wilmington his entire life, and in the Hedgeville neighborhood for 13 years.
He hopes to see the club back soon, and the area surrounding it cleaned up as well – to keep kids off of the streets and out of trouble
“Utilize it for what it should be used for instead of having it sit here like a museum," Black said. "Kids can use it or adults need GED programs. Kids need places to go after school.”
State Senator Robert Marshall says the goal is to use the $400,000 he helped obtain from the state last June to restore gyms and clean up facilities - both at the Jackson Street Location and the H Fletcher Brown boys club – in time to open this summer.
“We have a critical mass of young men and women, students who will be out of school in a month and a half who could utilize this building being open," Marshall said. "The longer they’re open in the summer, weekend, and evening the better.”
However, Marshall and others were not clear whether the funding would help staff summer camps, after-school programs and other activities, and if additional funding would be made available if needed.