Boys & Girls Club opens in Garfield Heights Middle School

Kids in Garfield Heights now have another safe, fun place to go after school.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland, which provides after-school and summer programming for youth, has opened its newest site in Garfield Heights Middle School, 12000 Maple Leaf Drive. Following a successful pilot run over the summer, the Club is now accepting members ages 6-14.

Hours are 2:45-6 p.m. weekdays. Yearly enrollment fees, which start at $68, are based on a sliding scale according to household income.  Parents can pick up enrollment packets from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays at the middle school. Enrollment information can also be downloaded here.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland focus on healthy lifestyles, academic success and character. At the Club, kids get homework help, play sports, get involved in music, art and technology programs and participate in field trips. Free meals will be served to Club members starting Oct. 1.

“We are extremely excited to have the opportunity to serve the families of Garfield Heights and to provide a safe place for kids to learn and grow,” BGCC President and CEO Ron Soeder said.

Soeder said the organization recognized the need for a Club in Garfield Heights and received strong support from community leaders, including Garfield Heights Municipal Judge Deborah J. Nicastro, Mayor Vic Collova, the Garfield Heights Board of Education, Garfield Heights City Schools Superintendent Terrance Olszewski and Director of Pupil Services Gordon Dupree.

“The Club is the culmination of three years of this community trying to find positive alternatives for the children of Garfield Heights,” Nicastro said. “We’ve been looking for things that will engage our kids and keep them out of trouble.  The Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland is a perfect fit.”

Nicastro has been a municipal judge for 22 years. She is currently the court’s administrative and presiding judge.

Dupree said, “We are very pleased to be able to present this opportunity to the young people of our school district.  Our current afterschool program is following a very successful summer Boys & Girls Club program, and we are anticipating great things for our young people because of this new endeavor.

“Parents have told us how much their children enjoy being at the Boys & Girls Club and they said that they hope that the program will continued to be offered.  Parents have also told us that they wish that the program could be offered to all students in the district.”

Club Director Laronda McWhorter said, “I am happy to have been giving the opportunity to be involved in the startup of a Boys & Girls Club here in Garfield Heights. Having a Club in Garfield Heights will give youth in this city an opportunity to experience a positive atmosphere with fun programs and field trips throughout the school year. I’m looking forward to working with the youth and being a positive mentor in their lives.”

Her staff includes Tiffany McDonald (assistant Club director), Danielle Davis (licensing administrator/art instructor), Abeni Dennis (educational services instructor), Lauryn Young (cadet instructor) and David Wright (gym).

Founded in 1954, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland serves more than 8,000 youth annually at 15 locations in Cleveland, Cleveland Heights, East Cleveland and Garfield Heights. 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.