Jimmy McClure letter

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 18, 2011

Boys & Girls Club celebrates mission of changing kids’ lives

To the Editor:

It all started in 1860, when three women in Hartford, Conn., decided to take in “street urchins”–undernourished, dirty faced young boys with little more than ragged clothes on their backs, the hard-luck, forgotten kids of the Industrial Revolution.

They didn’t know it then, but these caring ladies were the planting seeds of what would become a true American success story. Their idea took root as Boys’ Clubs, which soon began to sprout throughout New England and eventually across the nation.

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By 1906, 53 independent clubs were operating. The local leaders decided a national federation was needed to further the important mission of reaching out to children in need. They established the Federated Boys’ Clubs, which later became Boys’ Clubs of America.

Fast forward 150 years. Today, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, including Boys & Girls Clubs of Northwest Mississippi, is a network of more than 4,000 locations around the nation and on U.S. military bases here and abroad.

It is a remarkable tale that truly reflects the very story of America through the 21st century. Throughout 2010, we will tell that story-the lives changed and saved, the communities turned around, the kids who conquered overwhelming odds to succeed, the caring individuals and supporters who make it all possible.

As we celebrate National Boys & Girls Club Week, we pause to thank the many caring people who make our mission a reality and help our youth BE GREAT.

And the families and parents who, every day, entrust to us America’s most precious gifts: our young people.

We can’t wait to begin our second century of shaping great futures, being the safe haven for nearly 4 million youth in some 4,000 clubs, and in doing so, changing lives and changing America.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Northwest Miss. hopes you will be a part of something GREAT and join us in celebrating National Boys & Girls Club Week, a week of hope and opportunity for the entire community.

Thank you for making it possible.

Jimmy McClure

Board President

Boys & Girls Club of Northwest MS