Boy's girls can join the club when nationwide clubhouse comes to Juneau

Posted: Monday, January 10, 2000

With the lease of 4,800 square feet of space in the Mendenhall Valley, the Boys and Girls Clubs of America will open a clubhouse in Juneau.

The facility is part of a statewide expansion program that has set its sights on opening up to 40 clubs across the state by the end of 2002, according to Regional Program Manager Norma Jean Dunne.

Club activities are designed to provide recreation and positive adult role models to young people and include programs for development of character and leadership, the arts, sports and fitness, and recreation.

``Every community is different,'' Dunne said. ``With its large population base, Anchorage has all sorts of programs for tots all the way up to age 20.''

Juneau programs will address the needs of middle-school children, she said. The club will be set up on Mallard Street.

The clubs are professionally staffed and collaborate with community health and education organizations.

The Juneau club got its start earlier this year with a feasibility study initiated by the Tlingit-Haida Regional Housing Authority.

``We were going after a Department of Housing and Urban Development drug elimination grant and were looking for some kind of activity that would encourage kids toward healthy alternatives to drugs and alcohol,'' said housing authority spokeswoman Barbra Holian.

The housing authority then hired a consultant in February to take the pulse of the community and ``out of that we determined the Boys and Girls Clubs would work,'' Holian said.

The clubs are expanding into other areas of Southeast as well.

``We opened a club in Metlakatla on Dec. 17 and will open next in Hydaburg on Feb. 14. And we're meeting with Angoon right now,'' Dunne said.

Funding for statewide expansion of the clubs came from a HUD and Department of Justice grant of $1 million.

The clubs charge membership fees but provide scholarships for those who can't afford to pay.

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