Wednesday, July 15, 2020

B&GC Makes Most of COVID Summer

Participants at the B&GC have a summer garden 
and plan to make salsa with their bounty!

Summer is supposed to be a time of relaxation and fun for area kids, but the COVID-19 pandemic changed all that. Through it all, however, the Boys & Girls Club of Sequoyah County has made every effort to continue supporting them.

The Club helped Sallisaw Public Schools provide lunches to area youths during the quarantine period, and for the last two weeks of the Boys and Girls Club’s summer program, the agency has lined up several Sallisaw-area businesses to provide lunches for the kids this year, including: NHS-Sequoyah, McDonald's, Pafford Emergency Services, Mazzio’s, People Inc., Sallisaw Mayor Ernie Martens, Sonic, Total Eye Care, Health & Wellness Center, National Bank of Sallisaw, People Inc.

The Club didn’t just serve lunches to youths during this time. Its employees also made calls to some of the members to stay in touch and see how they were doing. Many of the kids were excited to hear from their favorite staff member.

Many Clubs around the nation were able to implement virtual programming, but that was not an option for the Sequoyah County office. So, to keep its members involved in Club programs, the agency mailed packets of information and Club activities to some of its members. The packets included a questionnaire and return envelope to help the Club track the effectiveness of its outreach.

After weeks of speculation, the Club was able to open its doors to serve the families that needed them the most for the summer program. The Club assisted 54 children of working parents and first responders during the summer.

Among some of the projects the children took part in was Summer Brain Gain to help with the learning loss from months away from the classroom.

And, as part of its STEM classes, Club kids assembled and decorated their own solar ovens and used them to make S’mores. Character and citizenship is another part of the Clubs’ curriculum, and the kids made stained glass stars to celebrate Independence Day.

Program participants also planted a small garden this year as part of its TRAIL diabetes prevention program. They will be using the produce grown there to make salsa.

You can support the Boys & Girls Club of Sequoyah County and its mission to enable all young people to reach their full potential. You can sponsor a child by donating $100 for the school year or $150 for the summer program. This allows a child to participate in all of the Club’s educational and prevention programs, as well as have a whole lot of fun!

Here are other ways you can support the Club:
*$5 per week (or $260 per year) will provide a child with a nutritional snack every day after school
*$8 per week provides an achievement award for four Members of the Month each month
*$10 per week ($520 per year) will provide two new laptops for the Club’s technology center
*$20 per week ($1,040 per year) will provide athletic equipment for the Club’s fun and fitness programs.
You can also donate by visiting the Club’s webpage,

And don’t worry, the Club is taking no chances when it comes to the coronavirus. The agency is taking the following precautions:

*The Club will take temperatures three times a day (on arrival, before lunch and on departure)
*The children are kept in the same group every day
*Hand sanitizing is a huge priority throughout the day
*The Club has a cleaning crew (new this summer because of COVID-19) that spends the day cleaning the building, doors, lockers, etc.
*Doors are kept locked and no one other than staff and the children are allowed in. Parents wait in the cars until the child is screened and to be picked up, the Club is having the parents call and the staff sends the child out.

COVID-19 has impacted the Club’s efforts. Fundraising has halted, and grants only pay for salaries and supplies. The Club has also had to reduce the number of children it can serve to meet its grant requirements.

For the upcoming school year, the Club will follow the guidelines of the schools where Clubs are. If on-campus attendance is allowed, the Club will be open for children after school.

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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