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Boys & Girls Club hosts Lights on Afterschool

Event aims to familiarize public with local club

Event aims to familiarize public with local club

October 22, 2009|By DAVE McMILLION

HAGERSTOWN -- The Afterschool Alliance works on after-school programs for youths, but the organization says the need for such services is far from being met.

Currently, 14.3 million children take care of themselves after school, and the hours between 3 and 6 p.m. is the time youths are most likely to become involved in crime, sex, and drug, alcohol and cigarette use, according to the organization's Web site.

Matt Krantz, unit director of the Pennsylvania Avenue Boys & Girls Club, knows about the issues.

Krantz said his club regularly does outreach work to bring more youths to the local Boys & Girls Club at 805 Pennsylvania Ave.

To familiarize the public with the local club, the organization hosted an annual Lights on Afterschool event Thursday night.

Visitors mingled with youths, who had the place buzzing with activity in a gym area, a computer lab and large room where activities such games are offered to the youths.

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"This activity keeps them off the streets," said Tim Kemp, the club's assistant program director.

The club gives youths a place to do their homework, and they also are offered programs on alcohol and tobacco use prevention, Internet safety, and teenage sex and gang prevention, Krantz said.

Krantz said about 100 youths visit the club daily and its program costs $10 per month. There are scholarships available to help pay for the costs, Krantz said.

There are six Boys & Girls Club sites in Washington County and some of the others also were holding Lights on Afterschool events, Krantz said.

Diamond Campbell, a 14-year-old North Hagerstown High School student, said he has been coming to the Pennsylvania Avenue Boys & Girls Club since he was about 5 years old. Campbell said the club offered him the chance to dabble in Web design and Photoshop work, which involves changing colors in photographs.

"I want to become a computer technician" Campbell said in the computer lab where other students sat immersed in the digital world.

Campbell, who lives on Jonathan Street, said he often walks to the club after school.

Maurtel McMillan, a Western Heights Middle School student, said he rides his bicycle or skateboard to the club after school and enjoys activities such as basketball and computer games until he leaves about 7:30 p.m.

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