Boys and Girls Club celebrates fifth-year anniversary

By Gus Bode

For the last five years, the Boys and Girls Club of Carbondale has been filled with children reading, studying, playing basketball and learning life lessons.

‘We’re not a day care service,’ said Executive Director Randy Osborn, ‘The kids are here to learn about responsibility and what it means to be a member of the club; what it means to participate and make a difference.’

The club has been making a difference in the lives of more than 500 members each year since it opened its doors in 2004, and tonight the club is hosting its fifth anniversary dinner and fundraiser at the civic center beginning at 6 p.m.


‘We hope to raise $15,000, which is a lot of money, but we also want people to understand our methods and our mission,’ Osborn said. ‘We want the public to invest more in our program as a way of investing in our future. Kids are our future.’

The event will feature local speakers and past students of the program. Chris Lowery, SIU men’s basketball coach and a member of the BGCC board, is scheduled to speak as well as BGCC’s Youth of the Year Julian Freeman.

‘Julian is very excited about speaking [tonight],’ Osborn said.

Osborn said Freeman, who has attended the club since it opened, is one of the club’s many success stories. The club’s program is designed to help keep children motivated, occupied and safe while learning life skills.

‘Our slogan is ‘a positive place for kids’ and I think that for most kids that’s what it has become,’ said Program Director Jazzika Matthews. ‘We do have kids who deal with issues outside of here, but when they come in here they can shine like a star’hellip; we are that positive place for a lot of kids.’