01/12/07 — Wayne Boys & Girls Club expands to Johnston County

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Wayne Boys & Girls Club expands to Johnston County

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on January 12, 2007 1:49 PM

The Boys & Girls Club of Wayne County has added a fourth club with the opening of a unit in Johnston County.

The club at Selma Elementary School opened in October and Wayne Couny club Director Mary Ann Dudley said she expects the Selma club to have 125 members by the end of January.

The Wayne club's corporate board agreed to be the lead agency to enable Johnston to sponsor its own club.

The Selma facility is about the same size as the Mount Olive club, which has about 80-90 members. The Paley unit on Royall Avenue in Goldsboro has about 120 members.The Fremont club has about 30 young people a day. Some members join just to play sports. Others come every day year-round.

Volunteers are needed at the Johnston unit, Ms. Dudley said, but they are also needed at every club.

Most of the people who work in the four Boys & Girls Clubs are part-time staff, but the clubs also relies on volunteers, she said. The ideal situation would be for the Paley unit to have at least 10 volunteers on any given day and for the other units to have about three to five volunteers each day.

"We survive off volunteers," Ms. Dudley said. "The club is primarily a program of volunteers."

The Paley unit has two volunteers who come regularly.

"They're very rare people," Ms. Dudley said about the two regular volunteers. They do things the regular staff members don't have enough time to do, because they're busy teaching the members other things.

One of the regulars coaches sports teams, and the other one reads with the members. The coach has touched many members' lives during his tenure as a volunteer, Ms. Dudley said. The other regular volunteer, a woman, reads with the members three days a week during the school year. She even helps find books for the children to take home with them.

Another volunteer comes from Seymour Johsnon Air Force Base just to play in the game room with the members.

"The social aspect is just as important as the programs themselves," Ms. Dudley said. "It teaches them how to interact properly, and the members some times need that extra ear, that extra hug. When a volunteers comes, it's like 'Wow! This person doesn't get paid for doing this!'"

The older members notice that, she said.

A couple of Eagle Scouts have taken on the Boys & Girls Club as projects. The Paley Unit has some new "cubbies" for the members' book bags and new picnic tables outside, because Boy Scouts chose that club for their Eagle project.

Retired people who like to fix things sometimes come to the clubs and do "handy man" work, and Ms. Dudley said it would be nice to have somebody like that on-call so she could look to them in times of emergency.

She even goes out into the community some times and asks for speakers to come talk to the members about their career.

The volunteers can just speak to the members one time, or they can come often. They can work any hours they want to and as many or as few as they wish.

People who want to volunteer some times ask Ms. Dudley what they can do to help.

"We ask, 'What is your specialty? What do you like to do?'" Ms. Dudley said. "If we had a volunteer come in and start a small drama club or a choral group or a step team, those are a great thing to have. We had a volunteer for a short while who taught art and brought out a lot of talent in the kids."

Volunteers go through an orientation to help them get started. Some enjoy working with younger childen, others with teens, Ms. Dudley said. The clubs can use people with administrative expetise, as well, she said. People with computer skills are valuable additions, she added, but anyone can be a boost to the club, even if their specialty is running a concession stand during a ball game.

"In pretty much every aspect of the club we can use volunteers," Ms. Dudley said.

The volunteers are a valuable asset to the clubs, Ms. Dudley said. They're extra eyes, extra hands, and they're appreciated even if they're at the club for just one time during a year.