As the Cool Club evolves, there may still be collaboration between the B & G Club and other organizations to enrich the experience for youth. This is acceptable to the B & Girls Club, said Carrie Beebe, Branch Director of the organization.
The goal is to get the doors open this summer but the Cool Club won’t actually be branded as a B & G Club until the steering committee (also now called the branch committee) finalizes a three-year fundraising plan stipulated by the B & G Club. Completion of the plan and officially handing the facility over to the B & G Club is expected to take place in September or October, according to Tiffany O’Donnell, Shady Cove School Principal.
For this summer, the club will soon open a few hours a day, three days a week. “I am really excited. The facility looks great and is just about ready,” said O’Donnell who has dreamed of a youth center since she began working in Shady Cove a few years ago.
Getting the club ready for the opening, in part, was the work of the Attendance and Safe School Coordinator, Phil Ortega, and five students that wrote winning essays on what they would change if they were principal of their schools. A total of fifteen youth were chosen to be in the program this year—up from eight last year.
The incentive to participate in this program is $200 worth of school clothes that will be purchased at JC Penney in August. The funds are furnished from a Department of Education grant and community support. The five students cleaning the Cool Club ranged from mid-school to high school and are from White City to Shady Cove, said Ortega.
To earn the $200, the students are expected to work a minimum of 30 hours on community service doing such tasks as graffiti removal, trash pickup or as in this case getting the Cool Club ready to open. Ortega said the youth work about 60 to 80 hours each summer.
Although memberships will be sold, scholarships will be available to all youth. No one will be turned away. O’Donnell assures the community that scholarships will be kept confidential and youth will not be asked for money. This has been discussed with Shady Cove School students and she said the kids understand the concept. (Several Shady Cove residents had expressed concern to steering committee members over the possible stigma to youth receiving scholarships.)
With work almost finished, the Cool Club is about to become reality. O’Donnell is working closely with staff from the B and G Club for the opening this month. The date is not yet finalized.
By Margaret Bradburn
Of the Independent