Local Kids Get Active in “The Club”

By: Marcus Washington
By: Marcus Washington

March 1, 2006

For many teens finding after school activities can often be a difficult task. When some of them do find the activities, they are jut too expensive. That’s why the Boys and Girls Club of Charlottesville – Albemarle County has provided a place for teens after school.

The Boys and Girls Club in Charlottesville serves many kids, and in addition to that, they are now catering to teens with "The Club."

“The Club” is a room inside the Boys and Girls club in Charlottesville located on 10th St. and Cherry Ave., just next to Buford Middle School. It is equipped with internet, books, music, study area, video games and mentors. It is geared towards teens ages 13 to 18 in the Charlottesville and Albemarle County area.

“Teens are out there, they’re in the community and there's not a lot for them in Charlottesville," said Eric Cardella, Unit Director, Boys and Girls Club. “So we're trying to fill that need and let them know that our doors are open to that (teens ages 13 -18) population.”

Many of the teens visiting “The Club” say they are more active since their regular visits began.

"I don't have to be bored, or just sitting at home," said club member Tamara Turner.

"It just keeps me active. [It's] something to do, because I'm pretty bored when I'm at home doing nothing," added member Kiara Martin.

Martin is one of the newest members of the Boys and Girls Club, and says she’s learning life lessons that are polishing her role as a productive person in her community.

“I don't want to be so vague and say, 'this stuff,’ [but] it's more than this stuff. It's important stuff [that will] help us in our future, to establish our character and who we are,” said Martin.

Many of the teens are members of a mentoring group called ‘KEYSTONE.’ It is an acronym for "Keeping Every Youth Strongly Tuned on National Excellence," explained member Naquan Sthon. "So it's mainly focused on leadership skills."

"It's for teens 13 to 18, and we're for the community, and we do community service," explained Turner.

It is service that is connecting with the teens, and it is a connection that their mentors are happy with. Mentors at “The Club” say they are excited about the teens involved with the program and would like to more.

“Even if there is a little bit of inspiration or a little bit of enabling them to be better citizens, be better students, be better people, then we've done our job, said Cardella.

For more information, call the Boys and Girls Club at 434-977-2011.

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