18:00 PM

Community Impact: Boys & Girls Clubs of Winder-Barrow County

Visit the gymnasium when kids are shooting hoops or playing indoor football and you’ll think there’s never a quiet moment at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Winder-Barrow County. You’d be wrong.

Walk across the way to the club’s homework center and you’ll find studious children in deep concentration, finishing school assignments or studying for the next day’s test. They are taking part in the club’s Power Hour and Goals for Graduation programs, both funded with Jackson EMC Foundation grants. Most recently, the Foundation granted $15,000 in October 2015 to help fund Power Hour.

The Boys & Girls Club in Winder provides activities and programming for approximately 300 Barrow County students aged 6 to 18, according to Director Derek Hutchens, who says elementary school kids take part in Power Hour while Goals for Graduation targets middle and high school students. Both are after-school homework assistance and enrichment programs. Transportation from school to the club is provided.

About 40 to 50 elementary students take part in Power Hour each day, with homework assistance and tutoring provided by staff members and sometimes volunteers. “If the kids don’t have homework, there are educational enrichment activities, worksheets or computer activities that coincide with what they are studying in school,” says Hutchens.

For about 20 older club members, Goals for Graduation offers a roomful of computers for after-school studies also aimed at homework completion and additional enrichment studies.

Students who take part in Power Hour and Goals for Graduation form the habit of doing homework independently, a habit that helps them in school and throughout life, according to Hutchens.

“By taking part in this as a daily routine, the kids establish good study habits and become self-directed learners who know how to prioritize, to do work before play,” he says. “Learning this is a lifelong lesson that not only helps students improve grades but builds confidence as well.”

According to Hutchens, support from the Jackson EMC Foundation goes beyond finances.

“Getting their support means they believe in our programs and consider us a trusted agency that consistently strives to fulfill its mission,” says Hutchens.

The Winder-Barrow Boys & Girls Clubs received their first grant from the Foundation in January 2006, a $9,100 grant used to teach children about nutrition and exercise. To date, they have received $84,100 to impact the lives of children in the community. To learn more about the club, visit www.winderbarrowbgc.com.