The Cardinal Boys and Girls Club in the Felicity-Franklin school district celebrated its grand opening Sept. 27.
Attended by about 70 people, the grand opening was planned to coincide with Nickelodeon’s “Day of Play” event for the hundreds children participating in boys and girls clubs all across America.
The grand opening of the Cardinal Boys and Clubs was the result of a partnership between the Felicity-Franklin School District, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Clermont County (there are now three), the Clermont County Juvenile Court, Jeff Wyler of the Jeff Wyler automotive family, and the dozens of people who live and work in the Felicity area, like Cardinal club unit director Sherri McClure.
Organizers have been working on opening a boys and girls club in the school district for the last five years; all of that time was spent trying to get the funding in place.
"Getting the funding together is what took so long," explains Boys and Girls Clubs of Clermont County executive director Nancy Ball. "It costs about $125,000 a year to operate a Boys and Girls Club. But that money is well spent because it gives students a safe place to go after school with positive role models, positive experiences, and positive activities - all to build character and leadership skills, and especially to have fun."
Not only do Boys and Girls Clubs provide a home away from home, Ball said, but data has also shown that boys and girls involved in the clubs are twice as likely to go to college and five times less likely to get into trouble.
"I am not just a board member," Ball said. "I am a true believer in the cause, the spirit, the mission, and the efforts of the county boys and girls clubs."
Since opening last week, 80 Felicity students are already participating in the after-school Cardinal Club, and more are anticipated as word spreads.
"We are so thrilled to now have a club here in Felicity," McClure said at the grand opening. "There was a great need for activities for kids here in the village, and they are all having a wonderful time. It really is a positive place for kids, which is the motto for Boys and Girls Clubs all across America."
McClure said that she hopes that the Cardinal Club will allow children to feel as if they are important, worthy people on a daily basis.
"These kids have dreams," she said. "And we are committed to helping them realize that their dreams can come true."
Membership in the Cardinal Club, which is $5 a year, is open to any young person, ages 6-18, regardless of need or background.
The Cardinal Club will be open 20 hours per week after school in the Felicity-Franklin Elementary School building from 2:45 - 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 25 hours per week during the summer, with the doors also being opened from 12 - 5 p.m. Saturdays.
For more information or to enroll in the Cardinal Club, contact Sherri McClure, Unit Director, at (513) 876-2113, ext. 371, or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.