(Crystal A. Proxmire, Sept. 25, 2013)
Starting Oct. 7, the Kulick Community Center will be the new home of the Boys and Girls Club. Since 2009 the center has hosted a drop-in teen center in conjunction with the club, a program that sees 20-25 students a day with over 100 members total. The new partnership will make more programming and staff available to a wider age range of youth.
Brett Tillander, Chief Professional Officer of the Boys and Girls Club, explained the benefits of the programs. “One of the things we’re really thrilled about is the impact on the members we serve. 100% of our club members graduated from high school. Zero teen pregnancies either for girls gotten pregnant or boys caused the pregnancy. No serious contact with law enforcement,” he said. “Our programs focus on academic success, health and life skills, and character and leadership development.”
The program will now be available for youth ages 6-18 that live in Ferndale or in the Ferndale School District. The annual $25 fee helps ensure that the youth have a vested interest in the program, and scholarships are available for those in need.
The Club will use the space that is currently being used for the teen drop-in center, and activities will be scheduled in other parts of the building when they are not being used for other programming. Tillander made clear that the move will not impact current services to seniors or other groups that use Kulick Center. The program also brings with it the benefit of a full-time organizer and five support staff, which will give current Kulick Center staff time to focus on other services.
Mariah Potter is an 18-year-old Ferndale High School student who has been part of Boys and Girls Club since she was 12. “When I came to Boys and Girls Club I wasn’t the best, active kid around my peers. I was really shy and you could sort of say I was antisocial with myself,” she said. “I had met many staff members who have come, stayed and gone. But every staff member has impacted me as much as they possibly can when I am there. And I have grown so much to now where I have a natural drive to do something better.”
Potter has developed a passion for working with younger kids, and will be working at the Club beginning in January.
“It’s truly a great opportunity for Ferndale to expand services and programs we offer for young people more than we can do at the high school,” said Mayor Dave Coulter about the new partnership.
The Boys and Girls Club will now have four locations, including their main facility in Royal Oak. For more information call 248-990-3798 after Oct. 7, or check them out online at www.boysandgirlsclubs.us.