McDONOUGH — The Henry County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a memorandum of understanding related to the establishment of a Boys and Girls Club.
The memorandum of understanding will provide funding for a Boys and Girls Club in Henry County. The club would be run under the umbrella of the Boys and Girls Club of Central Georgia.
The effort to bring a Boys and Girls Club to the county has been championed by Dee Clemmons, the District 2 commissioner, who has been working for some time to bring the club to the Henry County area. Her work was applauded by members of the Henry County Board of Commissioners, who opted to vote on the matter at Thursday’s meeting, rather than follow the original plan of simply discussing the matter.
The matter is important to Clemmons, who emotionally spoke of the impact that the Boys and Girls Club had on her life.
“The Boys and Girls Club is dear to my heart,” Clemmons said. “When my mom was a single mom and could not afford for me to go to programs, it was the Girls Club of Atlanta that I was in. When I went to college, my first job was with the Boys and Girls Club. I was the learning center director. Kids came in off the street and spent an hour with me before they could go play ball. It put me through college, because education is priority. I sit here today to give this back to the community. I thank you all for the support, and I’m excited that Henry County will have its Boys and Girls Club.”
District 1 Commissioner Johnny Wilson spoke of an example of a Boys and Girls Club success story he saw years ago.
“Back in the 1970s, I had the opportunity to hang out with Evander Holyfield,” Wilson said. “He was 12 years old. His mother took him down to a local Boys Club, because he took his anger out on his neighbors or whatever. The Boys Club taught him the art of boxing. I was involved in that group of people at that time, so I got to meet Evander when he was 12, 13 years old. He is a prime example of what the Boys and Girls Club can do for young men and women.”
Holyfield went on to become the only four-time World Heavyweight Champion in boxing history.
According to the proposed MOU, the Boys & Girls Club will be responsible for providing a supervisor “to develop, coordinate and oversee programming, staffing and operations of the Henry County Boys & Girls Club,” as well as providing Boys & Girls Club services, programming and training for all sites, and “to strive to maximize improvements in student behavior and academic performance,” among other things.
The city and the county will both be responsible for providing funding for the 2019-20 year.
In conversations at Thursday’s meeting, it was suggested that the city and the county would be responsible for around $150,000 in funding from unassigned funds.
The school system, according to the proposed MOU, will be responsible for facilities, utilities and setup in the technology labs.
In the proposed SPLOST V project list, seed money totaling $2 million has been earmarked for the construction of two Boys & Girls Club facilities in the county.
Facilities will be constructed on the west side and the east side of the county, near schools designated as Title I schools. Clemmons said the school board would determine what locations would be used for the programs.