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Boys & Girls Club to offer Date Smart program for teens

March 19, 2009

Starting April 1, local teens will have the opportunity to earn Valley Mall gift cards for their participation in a program provided by the Boys & Girls Club of Washington County.

The program, Date Smart, is a prevention program that teaches teens what they should expect in healthy peer relationships. Date Smart is being funded by the Washington County Community Partnership for Children & Families.

"This is a very exciting program that our community needs," said Buck Browning, director of development for the Boys & Girls Club. "We are fortunate to have partners like the WCCP, the Valley Mall and the Hagerstown Housing Authority involved in this initiative."

The Boys & Girls Club will be providing Valley Mall gift cards to eligible participants, Browning said. However, just showing up doesn't mean you earn the gift card, he said.

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"Date Smart is a comprehensive program that addresses some sensitive topics including domestic violence, teen pregnancy and healthy self-images, so it will be important to develop trust among the participants for the program to be successful," he said.

"We expect participants to show up on time, act appropriately and fully participate in each session."

Sessions will be held at Valley Mall on Wednesdays for eight weeks starting Wednesday, April 1 at 6 p.m.

Sessions will be offered at the Elgin Station Unit of the Boys & Girls Club on Tuesdays beginning April 7 at 6 p.m.

For more information, go to www.bgcwc.com or attend Date Smart orientation sessions set for Wednesday, March 25 or Thursday, March 26 at 6 p.m. near the information booth in the mall's food court. Registration is encouraged as each session is limited to 15 teens.

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