Groups form coalition to counter closing of boys and girls clubs - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Groups form coalition to counter closing of boys and girls clubs

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- In just a few days the Salvation Army's boys and girls clubs are closing because of a lack of funding. As a result, several groups have come together to combine resources and make sure local children have a place to go.

"I am working with my daughters but what if they run up against somebody that doesn't have the support that they're getting that they're not getting because the services are being taken away," said Shawn Gardner, a concerned parent.

West Louisville parents like Shawn Gardner and Kristin Johnson have similar concerns about what will happen when the boys and girls clubs close for good. "I guess my fear is more of the crowds that she would come across and what they do," said Kristin Johnson, a single parent.

Wednesday afternoon, Johnson and Gardner attended a news conference that offered a solution to their concerns and the loss of the boys and girls clubs.

"We thought we'd come together as organizations and kind of map out a strategy for how to do that," said Dr. Eddie Woods, with the Life Hope Center.

Known as the Service Continuum Coalition, its goal is to provide a safe place for children and to help reduce some of the recent gun violence we've seen in west Louisville.

"We're losing a lot of people because we got way too many kids who have access and who have guns," said Woods.

The coalition is made up of several organizations that already help young people. Ed White, who created the River City Drum Corps, says they're providing a service. 

"Just like you walk in and buy goods at Kroger -- that's what we're doing; we're selling a service and the service that we are doing is providing a safe place for our children to be," said White.

The Salvation Army is still planning to close all four clubs on Oct. 21; however, they are also working on a plan to keep at least some of them open. 

"We are in dialogue with the Kentuckiana Boys and Girls Clubs about restoring or resuming programing in three of the clubs," said Salvation Army Area Commander Major Michael Hawley.

That's good news for Johnson -- and she likes it better than her temporary solution.

"I've actually been taking her to work with me, which puts -- you know I sit her at my desk, in my office, which takes away from me being able to get my workload like really done," said Johnson.

The Salvation Army's Boys and Girls Clubs will close their doors on Friday, but hopefully at least some of them will reopen soon.

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