Boys and Girls Club of Durant expands outreach

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DURANT, OK -- The Boys and Girls Club of Durant opened its doors last year filling a void in after-school youth programming but there was still a gap for a major age-group.

A lot has changed in a year.

Chief Professional Officer Jason Sands said, "At the end of October our total membership was 180. We're averaging about 100 of those kids a day."

That's up from about 75 when they opened last December and now they're looking to expand to another age group.

Sands added, "starting to switch the focus of our programming, specifically focusing on teens."

Sands says the first year was mainly targeted toward ages 6 through 12.

Sands said, "One of the things we're working on is putting in a midnight madness program. We're gonna open the club up Friday nights from 10 to midnight, specifically for teens.". He says they're also looking at programs like financial literacy, resume building, job skills, and sports fitness. "And let them know the importance of becoming productive citizens, not just in the community of Durant, city of Durant, but in Bryan County, and the state of Oklahoma."

Program director Craig Andrus says it's exciting what they've accomplished in a year.

Andrus said, "I've seen the club come from one end to the next."

He says they've gotten an outpouring of support from the community who was in need of an after-hours youth program when they opened the doors last year.

Sands said, "A lot of the programming that we offer here is so off-base from what you get in school, or what you get in a daycare."

Sands says as they expand programs to teens he expects attendance to skyrocket but he's excited about that.

Sands said, "We're forever growing. That's our vision, to grow and be able to serve the entire Bryan County."

The club holds an orientation every Monday night at 6 for parents interested in enrolling their kids.