Club kids help Flint during water crisis

Kids at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland are taking it upon themselves to provide their Flint, Mich. counterparts with something we all take for granted – clean, safe drinking water.

Members of BGCC’s Broadway Club are making a small sacrifice – foregoing their daily, sugar-laden slush drinks – to generate money for bottled water. The Club will then take the water to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Flint, where the drinking water has been contaminated with lead.

Club Director Myesha Crowe said she sees the effort as a win-win for the kids.

“They learn to give back to the larger community and they learn about good health,” she said.

Crowe said many kids buy slush drinks at a nearby store before heading to the Club each afternoon. For each $1 in drinks not purchased, the Club and its sponsors will provide $3 worth of bottled water for Flint. In addition, Crowe has asked Chelsea Duty, the Club’s farm program manager, to calculate the sugar and calorie savings for that period and show the kids why the switch was beneficial to their health.

Flint’s drinking water became contaminated with lead in April 2014 when, in a cost-cutting measure, the city started drawing its water from the Flint River and treating it at the local water treatment plant while it waited for a new water pipeline to Lake Huron to be finished. Michigan officials have indicated they failed to require the necessary chemicals be added to the corrosive Flint River water; as a result, lead leached from pipes and fixtures into the drinking water.

Founded in 1954, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland serves nearly 8,000 youths in Cleveland’s inner-city neighborhoods, Cleveland Heights and East Cleveland. The Clubs provide a safe place for children to learn and grow, to develop ongoing relationships with caring adult professionals, to engage in life-enhancing programs and to create a culture of hope and opportunity.

BGCC’s mission is to inspire and enable young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens.