WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. — The biggest business in West Memphis is doing its part to make sure local students have a safe place to go after school.
Southland Park Gaming and Racing donated more than $111,000 to the Boys and Girls Club on Thursday. Their ultimate goal: helping to raise the best and brightest in West Memphis.
In explaining the donation, Southland doubled down on its commitment to the youth of West Memphis and Crittenden County, and they're hopeful that the investment will lead to an even brighter future.
“We want to help the families and children in the community here, so that’s the backbone of our giving," Southland President Dave Wolf said. "Whatever we can do to help the kids to get a great start and have a successful life and prosper here.”
“It’s just very important to tell them thank you," Mayor Marco McClendon said. "Thank you for what you’re doing because many cities would love to have Southland. I just want to make them feel welcome. They’re our biggest employer here in the city. They contribute so much with their philanthropy."
The $111,000 donation will go toward improving upon and expanding facilities and programs in Memphis, giving children more to do and better resources to do it. On top of the facility in West Memphis, they also provide satellite after-school programs for kids around the county, and none of it would be possible without Southland.
“There’s been years where they’ve been the reason we’ve been able to stay open and serve kids, but more importantly, most other years they’re the reason we’re able to expand and serve additional kids, expand, and serve additional kids, and offer the youth in our community a lot more opportunities," said Darin McCollum, executive director of the Crittenden County Boys and Girls Club.
While Southland specializes in gaming and gambling, there’s a very real impact that they’re making and will continue to make with donations like these.
“We’ve actually seen instances where it’s truly saved lives," McCollum said. "If you interview nationally Boys and Girls Club, a lot of the alumni will tell you that it had a huge impact or actually changed their lives.”
Southland also committed to even larger donations and job opportunities as the casino continues to expand.