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Community members working to reopen Boys & Girls Club in Arkansas

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Little Rock, Arkansas — Next month, the Thrasher Boys and Girls Club is set to reopen, which is something volunteers like Donna Massey are excited to see.

“This is an investment in our community. We’re trying to save our community, Thrasher Boys and Girls Club has been a staple in this community for years,” she said. “Many events that we intend to have just to take our community back to invest in our community.”

Her son played sports at this Boys & Girls Club years ago, and that impact is what made seeing the club closed hurt.

“We have children in this community. They deserve an opportunity, they deserve a chance,” Massey said. “So I was enraged and very concerned to find out this had to be closed.”

That is why she, along with roughly 100 others, came out to the club Saturday.

The group spent the afternoon cleaning it and getting it ready for its reopening.

“I mean we need community programs like the boys club,” Kobi Knight, a volunteer, said. “To see all these people show up to support this boys club, it’s amazing to me.”

He also spent time at the club as a child and is here for the same reasons as Massey.

He said this kids a place to go and a way to occupy their attention after school.

“This just shows you there are still people, and this community still has hope. This shows it,” Knight said.

This is more than just a local Boys and Girls Club for the ones who have been around to see generations of kids come and go – it’s an opportunity to curb youth violence before it starts.

“We have nothing out here to take their time,” Ed Johnson, a volunteer, said. “They get off school, they get in the wrong groups. The wrong groups lead to violence and problems. This center will help us, we need this center.”

Massey said there’s still work that needs to be done as cleanup continues.

According to Massey, the cleanup isn’t just about the building itself– it’s the message behind what they’re doing that’s most important.

“I’m just excited to know that we’re fighting to save this community, this community center,” she said. “To give the children of this age and this area an opportunity to succeed, that’s what they need and that’s what we want.”

Free brake and tail light checks were also available at Saturday’s cleanup.

According to Massey, that service helps the community avoid any unnecessary traffic stops, and it saves money too.

 

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