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Local option to replace B&G Club presented

A non-profit educational and childhood development organization based in Como may take the place of the Boys & Girls Club in Batesville. State Rep. Lataisha Jackson, who represents the north part of Panola County and Tate County is executive director of the program that hopes to move into the space occupied by Boys & Girls with the support of the City of Batesville Mayor and Board of Aldermen and the county Board of Supervisors.

Jackson has appeared before both boards in the past week, asking for their support to expand her E.D.U.C.A.T.E. non-profit into Batesville. She and her staff already serve several families in the city, and have an especially strong presence in the Como area.

Jackson told the boards she doesn’t need major funding from either the city or county, mostly just the use of the old armory building on the corner of Hwy. 51S and Eureka Rd. that has been the home to the Boys & Girls Club for several years.

That organization fell out of favor with both the aldermen and the supervisors last year when they merged the local chapter with Boys & Girls Clubs in the Mississippi Delta. Local officials were against the move, citing their desire to have local donations spent on Panola County children.

The City of Batesville withheld its annual support of the Boys & Girls Club last year and the supervisors announced their intentions to do the same last month.The city and county own the building together, and asked Jackson to make a proposal to operate her organization here.

Jackson said she needs $10,000 from the county, and approximately $20,000 from the city to pay a salary for an E.D.U.C.A.T.E. employee to be stationed at the location each day. Both boards took her proposal under advisement and are discussing options for offering help, if not cash funding, to help locate and operate a program here.

Jackson said her group that mentors school-age students and provides help with life lessons and school tutoring is prepared to move into the building almost immediately, and has means to provide transportations for children to the center.

Distance learning and other internet-based educational opportunities can be conducted at the site under supervision from E.D.U.C.A.T.E. staff, Jackson said, along with a number of programs designed to boost self-confidence, and awareness of the benefits that follow positive life choices.

Supervisors and aldermen were receptive of Jackson’s proposal, both saying they need a few days to consider their funding options.