Hundreds of students in Dallas have new after school options in neighborhoods that didn't have them before after six new Boys and Girls Clubs opened their doors.
The majority of the new locations are in South Dallas or Oak Cliff. The Pleasant Grove neighborhood is getting its first club. The demand is so high that some school campuses were turned down.
It’s an unprecedented for the Boys and Girls Club. By far, it is the most clubs they've ever opened at once. There are still other school administrators asking them to open more.
The first of six new Boys and Girls Clubs for the city of Dallas opened Tuesday at Uplift Preparatory’s Wisdom Campus in South Dallas.
Two more clubs will open at Knowledge Is Power Program schools in Oak Cliff and Pleasant Grove next week. Three clubs will open at Dallas ISD’s MLK, JJ Rhoads and Elisha M. Pease schools in Oak Cliff the week after that.
Cherri Rowe with Boys and Girls Club of Dallas says she even turned down eight schools that wanted clubs. That's how great of a need there is for after school care.
"People have to work, but they don't want their kids to suffer,” she said. “The hours of 3 to 8 p.m. are when most youth crimes occur, and so people don't want their kids sitting at home by themselves."
The club opening in Pleasant Grove will be the first for that neighborhood.
"Honestly, it needs the attention,” Rowe said. “There are great kids, though. There are great families. There are great people there, and they just need the additional support."
Rowe says parents and teachers like the focus the club puts on academics, including an hour dedicated to homework.
"We definitely carry on what they're already learning throughout the day,” said Amanda Ramirez, a Boys and Girls Club Program Support Specialist. “When they go home, they may not have that help at home."
"It's kind of crazy to open six new locations in a year,” Rowe admitted. “But it's a task we wanted to take on."
Boys and Girls Clubs of Dallas hires one staff member for every 20 kids, so they are hiring more people because they're opening these clubs.
Rowe says they do get some funding from Dallas ISD for the clubs they're opening at those Oak Cliff schools because they are considered under-performing schools.