Laura Adkisson, unit director of the Harlan County Boys and Girls Club, said she is pleased these “wonderful” clubs are being recognized on a national basis, noting that this week over 4,000 of these clubs around the world will also celebrate in the fun.
“The Boys and Girls Clubs are great, and they allow a lot of opportunities for children who would otherwise not have access to many activities,” said Adkisson. “Some children would not have the chance to even be able to play certain video games without access to the clubs’ computer rooms. That means a lot to a child when they can go to school and tell their friends that they have had the opportunity to play certain games that everyone else may be talking about.”
The clubs, which were established in 1906 and were originally located only inside big cities throughout the nation, have now grown to include smaller towns and communities throughout rural America.
The Harlan club, which is located at Fairview, is reportedly the only boys and girls club located in eastern Kentucky and is operated entirely on grants and donations.
“It means so much that people of the community are willing to donate to such a wonderful cause, and it gives such a great testament to the community when people show their support in this way in order to make sure that these kids have a place to spend their time,” said Adkisson. “The bottom line is that these clubs would not be able to exist without the help of so many generous donations and grant programs.”
Although the Harlan club will not be open during this week of national recognition, Adkisson said that the Tri-Cities club is planning to open at its new location Tuesday on Main Street in Cumberland.
“The Harlan club will be closed this week due to the spring break schedule of the Harlan Independent Schools. We operate on the city school district’s schedule because the club is located inside the city limits,” Adkisson said. “But the Tri-Cities club will be having its first day of operation this week.”
The Tri-Cities club, which until now had several temporary locations throughout the Tri-Cities area at local churches and other buildings, will have its own permanent location.
This week of recognition has been set aside for club members and others to recognize the importance of the clubs and to help the community to better understand what great assets the clubs are to the children of the communities.
“A lot of kids come from homes where their parents do not have the access or the time to show them certain things, and the clubs kind of step in and help do that,” said Adkisson.
“We have many activities throughout the year. We are currently participating in a photography program for the kids where each child is supplied with a disposable camera for them to go out and take pictures. This means so much to these kids because some of the parents could never afford to be able to purchase the cameras, and therefore the kids may not ever have the chance to experience such a wonderful hobby or project as photography.”
Adkisson said the Harlan County Boys and Girls Club’s annual dinner, which is the biggest fundraiser of the year, is set for April 26. Tickets are now available for the event, which will be held at the Harlan Center.
Although the tickets are on sale for $100 each, Adkisson said that it was well worth the price because it includes dinner, a chance to win prizes and “simply a good time” for everyone who attends.
“It not only gives the people who purchase the tickets an opportunity to share in a day of great fun, but it also makes them a part of ensuring the operation of the club,” said Adkisson.
According to Adkisson, the tickets are selling fast and anyone who plans to attend the event should purchase their tickets as soon as possible.
Tickets can be purchased by contacting any club board member or by calling the Harlan club at 573-0960.