Families will feel effects of closing of Boys and Girls Clubs - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Families will feel effects of closing of Boys and Girls Clubs

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Dozens of local children could soon have to find a new after school hangout.  This week, the Salvation Army announced it will be closing the doors to several of its centers because of financial problems. 

That is disappointing news to parents and children who count on the boys and girls clubs as a safe after school hangout.  

"Outside middle block, reverse punch," says Ricky Reynolds, who uses the South end Boys and Girls club.  From karate to several after school activities, Ricky Reynolds is one busy 12-year-old.

One of his many activities has included taking martial arts at the Boys and Girls Club.

"I believe I am scheduled to break my board in December,"  Ricky said.

But these days breaking his first board is not Ricky's only problem. If the Boys and Girls Club closes, he'll have to find somewhere else to spend time after school.

"He goes to school and he's dropped off at the center," Margaret said. "It provides tutoring, snacks, snacks, recreation."

Ricky is one of dozens of children who could soon have to find another after school hangout after the Salvation Army announced several of its boys and girls clubs will close later this month.

"It just left the parents in a limbo," Margaret said. "We didn't know what to do. I was very angry. Very, very angry."

Martha and other parents are frustrated because they believe closing the youth center will mean more children on the street, pointing to broken windows and graffiti as warning signs that children in their neighborhood need the boys and girls club.

"I've had to call the police many times because they were hanging out over there smoking marijuana," Margaret said. "And I don't even want to talk about what else I've witnessed."

She says there will be more of it without the boys and girls club.  "There is absolutely nothing else in this neighborhood for our children."

The south Louisville Community Center could still serve as an after school hangout for children --  the only difference is it won't operate as a boys and girls club.

That's fine with Margaret.

"We're going to work out something so that center will stay open," she said.

And that is crucial to dozens of children like Ricky Reynolds who see the boys and girls club as more than just an after school hangout.

"They're basically like my family," Rick said. "Coach P, he's like my dad, Ms. Robin -- my mother and Mr. Mark: he's like a brother to me."

A Major from the Salvation Army plans to meet with parents next week to talk about ways to keep the south end center open under different management.

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