Taking Back Our Neighborhoods - Boys and Girls Clubs - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Taking Back Our Neighborhoods - Boys and Girls Clubs

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Most of us have heard of the Boys and Girls Club.

They've been in the Jackson area since 1936, but you may not realize how big a role they play in Taking Back Our Neighborhoods.

There are two in Jackson now; Sykes Road and Capitol Street and to say they make a difference in those communities is an understatement.

When the children step off the school bus and into the Boys and Girls Club, it's like stepping into an oasis.

"Well, I live in Battlefield," said 11-year-old Jaylyse Colburn. "It's a lot of stuff going on; gangs, guns, shooting. Can't halfway go to sleep but I try. It's a dangerous neighborhood; try to stay positive going to the Boys and Girls Club. It's a safe place for children."

All too often, they are exposed to things even adults shouldn't see, so the Club gives kids like Keveon Spann, 11, a chance to be a kid.

We asked what's the most fun thing about coming to the Boys and Girls CLub.

"To me it's everything," Spann said. "I just love it."

It also provides peace of mind to parents like Tina Halbert, who is also unit director for the Capitol Street branch.

"Yes, we do homework, character and leadership," Halbert said. "We do a lot of career goals, especially for our teenagers."

And there are programs targeting obesity and promoting healthy choices; something missing in the vicious cycle that manifests in troubled neighborhoods.

"We are taking these neighborhoods back, everywhere that we are, one kid at a time," said Billy Redd, President and CEO of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Mississippi. "Every kid that we're helping to make certain they don't get pregnant; they don't drop out of school, is helping take back this neighborhood."

"It works," Redd said. "It's a good investment and that's what we need people to do, is say I'll invest in these kids lives; I want to help."

Tough economic times have forced some tough decisions.

Some units in the metro area had to close their doors.

Children are only charged $25 per year, so the clubs need your help and you don't have to be rich.

To find out how to help, you can go to their website, http://bgccm.org/ or call, 601-969-7088.

Let us help you take back your neighborhood.

Just send an email to hballou@wlbt.com or contact me on Facebook or Twitter.

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