05/29/13 — Boys and Girls Club teen director has big plans for his charges this summer

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Boys and Girls Club teen director has big plans for his charges this summer

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on May 29, 2013 1:46 PM

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Boys and Girls Club Teen Director Anthony Teachey talks to Teriquea Butler,14, about the center's plans for the summer.

When former NBA player Anthony Teachey returned to Goldsboro nearly 10 months ago as the teen director at the Boys & Girls Club, he set out to make a positive difference.

Now with the summer months fast approaching, Teachey has a more specific goal in mind -- changing behaviors.

It's one thing to organize an after-school activities throughout the school year, he said. But once schools dismiss and the program doubles, both in numbers and time spent with the youths, there are simply things that must be done differently, he said.

"Having kids eight hours a day, a variety of kids, they're bound to have behavior issues," Teachey said.

Children don't play outside like they once did, he said. They tend to spend more time on the computer or Xbox or engaging in all sorts of social media.

They are also exposed to things at much younger ages -- like sex and violence, inappropriate pictures being sent online or via phone.

Teachey has been alarmed by things he has seen and stories he has heard of issues the club's staff have had in the past, and said he plans to take steps to change some of that.

The Boys & Girls Club is not a baby-sitting service, he said, and as such, there are policies and rules that "need to be enforced."

Like having a dress code.

Encouraging youths to be outside four days a week.

Mandatory parent meetings and requiring parents to volunteer 24 hours in the program over the summer.

"You can come out and see what your kid is doing and not doing," he said. "This summer, it's all about prevention and getting the parents involved. A lot of my parents said they're going to definitely volunteer. I'm going to have more parent meetings this summer."

One way parents can help, he said, is to have their own expectations for the child at home.

"These kids, the older kids that are so -- old-school word -- stubborn. It starts at home, and parents always defend their kids," Teachey said. "We need to change to the point, not just our operating hours, but for them to get up, do their chores and do everything they need to do around the house and then drop them off (at the club)."

Teachey is constantly looking for ways to increase club enrollment, but what first needs to happen is to address some of the behavioral problems -- which he said in the past has resulted in suspensions, parents withdrawing their child from the program and loss of club sponsors.

The teen director said he has been working on developing partnerships in areas that serve the youths, including the police department and teen court. He has taken youths on tours to the community college, the jail and a funeral home, all designed to provide them with information as they contemplate where they, or their friends, could end up in the future.

He hopes to have a career day to expose youths to the different options, and possibly job shadowing and on-the-job training opportunities.

And he is also willing to explore the other side of the coin, he said.

"I will be taking the kids to court to see what kids go through, see them getting probation," he said, expressing a willingness to discuss topics youths are exposed to at younger and younger ages -- sexual assault, child support, teen pregnancy.

"I know I'm stepping on some folks' toes, but I shouldn't have to do that," he said.

Teachey says he would welcome having more support from area churches, especially black churches, interested in the outreach opportunity.

Meanwhile, he said his goal is to do some outreach of his own this summer.

"The first step is to get out in the community," he said, explaining about his "project tour," slated to begin later next month.

Lincoln Homes will be the first site, on June 28, from 1 to 5 p.m., he said, with three others expected to be added.

The family day-type event will feature information and education, as well as free health assessments, inflatables, food, music and speakers, he said.

"We'll have ex-gang leaders, ex-drug dealers, because Lincoln Homes is one of the highest drug areas," he said. "We need to get out in the community. We need to be more visible."

Despite the somber message, Teachey said he is actually excited about the upcoming months at the Boys & Girls Club.

"We are trying to collaborate with the police department and other agencies, have been working with graduation coaches to prepare students for end-of-grade tests," he said. "When you look at everything, (I'm trying) to address it. We will have collaboration with other churches, parents volunteering. A change is possible.

"But at the same time, the overall picture, you can't ignore it because if you don't clean it up, you're a Columbine waiting to happen, you're a Connecticut waiting to happen."