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The Boys & Girls Club of the Lake Martin Area has been helping children for 22 years and counting.

The local club opened in 1997 and currently serves about 170 children in the area, according to director Melissa Reynolds. The program grows in the summer to 200 children due to schools being out.

“We are an afterschool program,” Reynolds said. “We’re a positive place for kids to go. We are nationally known for our services in education and character development.”

The club has programs for health and life skills, sports and recreation, and culture and other activities. Programs include teaching children how to handle bullying, what makes a balanced diet and how to make small meals if parents are working.

“Power hour is where we tutor kids with their homework,” Reynolds said. “We bring in mentors to help with reading.”

The club has its Searcy Unit at the Charles E. Bailey Sportplex Gym for 5-to 12-year-olds and a teen center for 13-to 18-year-olds in Alexander City. There is a Goodwater Unit in Coosa County for 5-to 18-year-olds.

In addition to its afterschool program, the club also held a fall break program in October for children. 

“(The Boys & Girls Club is) very important because you have a lot of kids who are at-risk kids,” Reynolds said. “We probably touch the lives of many (children that other) afterschool programs don’t.”

It costs $18 a week for children to participate. 

Reynolds said the program is growing from year to year and will include a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math program next summer. 

Lake Martin Area United Way gives funds to the club to help with materials, a family strengthening program if needed for counseling, dinner for children and its college scholarship program. Reynolds said although the club is not 100% funded by the United Way, it still couldn’t do its programs without it.

“They make it to where we can provide for our kids and where we can provide the afterschool program for the community,” Reynolds said.

For more information on the Boys & Girls Club of the Lake Martin Area, visit bgcoflakemartinare.wixsite.com/bgclma.