The new Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club has the kids, space and planned activities — but it's still missing a very important ingredient.
The club, which opened this summer, is the newest and one of the biggest clubs of its kind in Texas. Within its walls, there are rooms for dance and music lessons, video games and other activities designed for local children.
But most of those rooms are darkened and unused right now for a very important reason — there aren't any volunteers to man them.
Activities Director Greg Pridemore said the club has only four paid staff members to watch over the more than 70 children who participate in after-school activities at the club each day. That number, is woefully insufficient.
“There's just not any money in the budget for more paid staff,” he said. “What we really need is volunteers. We mainly need volunteers for a couple of hours in the afternoon … and we've had to cut some of our programs for now because we just don't have any volunteers.”
Because of the lack of volunteers, there is no one to oversee the music room, or to direct dance classes, or to manage the workout room and other areas. Right now, only the gymnasium and foyer areas are being fully utilized.
Pridemore said he is looking for people to help in the neglected areas, but expertise in music, dance or other disciplines is not necessarily a requirement.
“We want someone who is interested in kids, preferably someone who is willing to teach a class or an activity, such as dance,” he said. “And it would be great if we could get someone who could help with music and arts and crafts, but anyone would be a help right now.
“But they have to like kids,” Pridemore added. “We don't want just anybody off the streets. Some of these kids come from very diverse backgrounds — single-mother homes, single-father homes, homes where they're being raised by their grandparents, situations like that. These kids cover the spectrum; we have everything in here.”
During the school year, volunteers are needed only for a couple of hours in the afternoon, mostly between 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
Persons interested in helping out should contact the Boys and Girls Club at 264-7344.