SIU volunteers at Boys and Girls club

By Taylor Voegel

SIU students gave back to a program Friday that has served the community for 10 years.

The Boys and Girls Club on North Springer Street, which provides after-school activities for children, received a visit from students in the University Honors Program. The honors students are required to volunteer at least 10 hours per semester, a requirement that began last year.

The students repainted parking lot lines, repainted areas of the gym and painted a newly installed handrail.

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Tim Merriman, a freshman from Carbondale studying political science, said students were given the option to volunteer at the Boys and Girls Club, Giant City State Park, Carbondale Public Library or Green Earth. He said the Boys and Girls Club was an easy pick because he attended the club from third through sixth grade.

“I think it’s a nice way to meet people and a nice way to break out and do something for the community and the town that a lot of people just moved into,” Merriman said.

Alongside the SIU students were associates of Lowe’s, who donated time and supplies such as paint, brooms, and other equipment needed for the community service day.

“We’re just wanting to be, as much as we can, a member of the community in regards to the Boys and Girls Club,” Chris Brinkerhoff, assistant store manager of Lowe’s said. Brinkerhoff said Lowe’s is a national partner with the Boys and Girls Club of America nationwide, but this was the first project Lowe’s had locally been involved in with the Boys and Girls Club.

Randy Osborn, executive director of the Boys and Girls Club of Carbondale for 10 years, said the club is an after-school program that helps families by providing child care, but it’s so much more than that.

“We’re an education program. We help them with homework, special projects, look forward to careers, and we help kids get scholarships,” Osborn told the SIU students.

Osborn said in the past two years, the club gave eight students scholarships to either community colleges or universities. There are 4,000 clubs in America and about 4 million children from ages six to 18 who benefit from the program, according to the Boys and Girls Club of America’s website.

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He said the volunteer work is appreciated.

“We want the kids to understand that there’s a whole community involved in supporting the work of the club, and volunteers help show that,” Osborn said.

“The fact that I can help someone is really empowering.” said Kaylee Stillwell, a freshman from Orlando, Fla., studying biological sciences.

The Boys and Girls Club afterschool program will begin in full swing Aug. 25 from 3 to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. Full-year membership costs $18 per child. Volunteers may contact the Boys and Girls Club at 618-457-8877 or visit the club at 250 N. Springer St.

Taylor Voegel can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @taylorkayloveor at 536-3311 ext. 254

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