Vandals Derail Plans For New Boys and Girls Club
(Memphis) The future site of a Boys and Girls Club in Oakhaven was burglarized, creating damage that will require $100,000 to fix and delaying the opening of the center.
The site, located in the 3900 block of Tchulahoma Road, was just purchased by the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Memphis last week, right before the burglary.
The group planned to open the facility in January of 2013, as the only youth-serving organization in a five-mile radius, where 43,000 children live. They had anticipated spending about $20,000 to renovate the place, but the cost will now be closer to $100,000.
“I felt bad. I felt bad for the neighborhood, I felt bad for the kids,” said Vincent Borello, president and CEO of The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Memphis.
Borello said the thieves stole all the copper, the HVAC lines, HVAC units, circuit breakers, and anything that had copper in it.
“It’s indicative to where Boys and Girls Clubs are. We’re in areas that are a little challenged. They’re at-risk, high-risk areas, and this happens. It’s proof that the Boys and Girls Club is needed in areas like this,” Borello said.
Jeremy Wiggins’ seven-year-old daughter goes to Oakhaven Elementary School, just a two-minute walk from the future Boys and Girls club site.
“My daughter, man. She’ll just be bored. She just walks around here. And there isn’t anything for them to do but get in trouble,” Wiggins said.
Wiggins and fellow neighbor Kendarish Conrad said they remember a teenager getting shot down the street just a couple of weeks ago.
Conrad said, “It’s crazy all the violence going on over here. My little nieces and nephews go to the elementary school. I have to walk with them every day just to make sure they can get from there.”
They’re excited to hear about a place kids can go to play games, get tutoring, and gain access to the Internet. A center like that can only come too soon.
But their children will have to wait longer, as the January opening date will likely be delayed.
Wiggins said he would urge people to volunteer and donate.
“They took from the community. Not just [the Boys and Girls Club], they took from us. Because we ain’t got nothing.”
Borello said this will be a setback for the organization, but that the children of Oakhaven will still eventually be served.
To donate online, go to www.bgcm.org.
Those interested in donating or volunteering can also call (901) 278-2947.
2012 marked the first time in the Boys and Girls Club’s 50-year history in Memphis that 100 percent of participating seniors graduated from high school.
The group currently serves more than 11,000 children ages six to 18.