BY KARISSA MILLER
Clarissa Young knows the impact that the Boys & Girls Club can have on a child and a community.
Young, who is the executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Piedmont, oversees the local organization and an array of programming for kids.
It’s rewarding work, she said, because she’s seen the positive impact it can have on children and has a storied career with the organization.
Young has been in her current position since 2019. The Boys & Girls Club of the Piedmont had to make adjustments to its programming during that time to slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep children safe.
Now, the nonprofit is working towards to getting back to how things were before the pandemic.
Spring Break Camp
Warm temperatures greeted students and staff on Wednesday, during the first week that face masks were optional since the pandemic began.
“We’re happy to see their smiling faces and they have missed being able to hug,” she explained.
During spring break, the Boys & Girls Club welcomed about 60 to 65 students each day.
“When they are out of school, our goal is to provide them a safe place at no cost to go during spring break. A lot of them aren’t going on a trip or out of town while school it out,” Young said.
NaKayla Griffin, director of operations, said that the kids had a lot of fun. The nonprofit offered a variety of special activities, including a trip to Top Golf in Charlotte and a skating trip.
“Tuesday, we had a great time at Top Golf,” said teen member Jayden. “The Boys & Girls Club is a great place. We have fun going outside to basketball and doing activities in our classroom.”
Parent Coretta Anderson said that she’s thankful the club was open during spring break so could go to work.
“I don’t get to stay home with my children this week but I’m glad they are able to attend the Boys & Girls Club of the Piedmont,” she said.
On a Mission
Brady Johnson, director of development, said that the staff lives up to their mission of enabling all young people to reach their full potential.
“The staff that work in this building, their hearts are in the right place. These folks are like missionaries — and this is a mission field. It’s not a job, but this is their calling, and they are very passionate about the children,” Johnson said.
Among the offerings that separate the Boys & Girls Club from other organizations are the academic programs, tutoring, and fitness and sports program, as well as character and citizenship programs.
Additionally, the nonprofit has developed partnerships with several organizations in the community to offer specialized youth development programs. Bullying prevention programs and art-oriented activities give students the tools to become caring, responsible and productive citizens.
About the Boys & Girls Club of the Piedmont
The Boys & Girls Club is open to anyone between the ages of 5 and 18, or who is in kindergarten through 12 grades. It’s also free, thanks to the generosity of community sponsors, grants and other funding sources.
Currently, Iredell-Statesville Schools buses provide transportation after school to the club and two charter schools, Success Academy and American Renaissance School.
Visit www.piedmontbgc.org for more information and call 704-397-2428 if you would like to have a tour or have your child become a member.