Ribbon cutting ceremony celebrates the formation of club at Monroe Middle
After almost 18 months of preparation and planning, the Monroe Boys and Girls Club opened its doors Thursday, Jan. 26. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held to celebrate the birth of the club at Monroe Middle School.
Dozens of people attended the event, including executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Salvation Army Charlotte Marty Clair, Union County Public Schools superintendent Dr. Ed Davis, Monroe Middle principal Dr. Mike Harvey and Monroe Mayor Bobby Kilgore. Members of the club also took part in the ribbon cutting.
The Salvation Army of Greater Charlotte has seven Boys & Girls Clubs in Mecklenburg County, but this is the first time a club has opened in Union County.
“We have great expectations (for) the Boys & Girls Club and what it can do for our community,” Harvey said.
For decades, Boys & Girls Clubs across the nation have provided kids with a place to go after school where they can receive help with homework, talk to “a listening ear” and participate in fun activities. The Union County club offers these services from the end of school until 7 p.m. The cost to join is $5, and any child can join.
“You just have to be a kid,” Marty Clair, a former club kid himself, said.
The Union County Boys & Girls Club will provide transportation for children attending the schools feeding into Monroe Middle, including East Elementary, Benton Heights Elementary, Walter Bickett Elementary, Rock Rest Elementary and part of Rocky River Elementary. Kids from other Union County Schools can join, provided they make their own transportation arrangements.
“A lot of these students aren’t (yet) Monroe Middle School students,” Harvey said. “They come from Benton Heights, Walter Bickett and East Elementary. It is an honor to get to know them before they actually step foot on our campus, and to build relationships with them.”
The Union County Boys & Girls Club started with approximately 24 students and had increased to 74 members by the second week. Officials expect the club to reach 100 members within the next two weeks and 150 members by March 1.
Currently, the club is considered a satellite organization of a Charlotte club. Once the club reaches 100 members, it becomes a full service club. “As a full service club, we will be eligible for pass-through opportunities from the Boys & Girls Clubs of America directly to this club,” Clair said.
Monroe Middle was chosen as the venue for the Union County club due to its central location in the county. Looking ahead, Clair said that Salvation Army Charlotte hopes to eventually establish two more Boys & Girls Clubs in the eastern and western parts of Union County.
“We are extremely excited about the opportunities to help kids,” Clair said. “And we are very appreciative of the community at large for making this possible. All of the funding and support has come from Union County residents, and we need that to continue to happen.”