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Boys and Girls Club set to reopen in Jefferson County

April 07, 2004|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Thanks to an outpouring of support from the community, the Boys and Girls Club of Jefferson County has reopened and expects to be open for the rest of the year, club officials said Tuesday.

Club officials shut down the club on Feb. 2, citing rising debt, operating losses and high fixed costs.

To help the club reopen, club officials asked the Jefferson County Commission for $60,000 in "emergency funding" and $5,000 a month.

The County Commission decided not to fund the club, but the City of Charles Town donated $16,000 and the City of Ranson offered to give the club an amount not to exceed $3,000 a month, club officials said.

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A group of developers offered to give the club $51,000, the United Way gave some money and the City of Ranson agreed to take care of the building's maintenance and utility costs for the rest of the year, said Gary Chicchirichi, a member of the club's board of directors.

The donations are expected to be enough to keep the club open through December, he said.

The club, which is on North Lawrence Street, reopened Monday, offering its programs again to local youths who often number 40 or more a day, said educational director Gwen Twyman.

"We're not planning on closing again," Twyman said.

Although Twyman was upbeat, Chicchirichi said funding the club will be a challenge, adding that insurance costs for the club are $12,000 a year.

The club offers after-school programs to kids ages 6-18.

The programs include Power Hour, an after-school homework program; the Torch Club, where youths learn to give back to their community; and the Keystone program, where youths learn computer skills and job etiquette.

Youths pay $10 a year to use the club, which will be open Monday through Friday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

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