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Noland Village program to target youth

August 18, 2000

Noland Village program to target youth



By KERRI SACCHET / Staff Writer


A Washington County youth organization has joined forces with the Hagerstown Housing Authority to reduce youth-related problems and instill a sense of pride among young people at the Noland Village housing complex.

The Boys & Girls Club of Washington County has formed a partnership with the Housing Authority to create the Noland Village Unit to offer mentoring and recreational activities for neighborhood youths. The program will open in September in the community center at 1048 Noland Drive, said Ted Shankle, executive director of the Housing Authority.

"We owned the building and we saw a need. We know from experience that no one delivers better than the Boys & Girls Club, and the children need guidance," Shankle said.

Advocates of the program say one of its goals is to help restore the Noland Village community rather than avoiding its problems.

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Bruce Gigeous, deputy director of the Housing Authority, said previous government programs have taken children from public housing out of their neighborhoods to activity centers during the day.

"Eventually every night these kids had to go home," he said.

"You have to go back to the community, and there is more success by coming in because it doesn't isolate them but makes them part of the community as a whole," Gigeous said.

"Noland Village was isolated and the children really had no way of getting to activities, and so we saw a lot of vandalism, graffiti," Shankle said. "We want to restore pride in the community."

Jim Deaner, executive director of the county Boys & Girls Club, said there will be recreational activities, mentoring programs and a homework club for the children at the Noland Village Unit.

There will also be prevention programs aimed at reducing drug and alcohol abuse and teen pregnancy.

Deaner, citing a lack of after-school activities at the housing complex, said he expects at least 100 children to take part in the program when it begins next month.

The Housing Authority and the Boys & Girls Club worked together to get funding for the program, said Buck Browning, director of development for the Boys & Girls Club.

"We got $30,000 from the Boys & Girls Club of America, $17,000 from the Washington County Community Partnership for Children and Family Management and $1,000 from the Women's Sports Foundation," Browning said. "It's enough to get started and let the community see the results.

"We need the community support," he said.

The Boys & Girls Club and the Housing Authority formed a partnership in 1996 to create the Frederick Manor Unit off Frederick Street in Hagerstown. Shankle said the positive turnaround in the Frederick Manor community influenced the decision to create the Noland Village Unit.

The Boys & Girls Club offers its homework club once a week in the Westview and Suman's public housing areas in Hagerstown, and Shankle said there are hopes to expand programs in those communities.

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