I met with Ninette Cooper, director of the Northeast Frankford Boys and Girls Club today to talk about the club and her job. I got there early and walked about taking some pictures. For those who have not been to the the club building, it is housed in the former William W. Axe school (1709 Kinsey Street) and it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It looks to be about 110 years old.
When we finally sat down, I asked Ninette what her job was all about. She said it is all about hope. Giving hope and positive direction to the 350 kid who utilize the club at various times during a typical year. Her official title is Club Director but in fact she is now serving as Interim Chief Operating Officer for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Philadelphia, so I was lucky she could find time to talk to me.
The club offers child care, after school care, teen programming and recreation. Kids can do homework, use the computer lab, play sports or just have a good time. The club is open until 8Pm and midnight on Friday. There are numerous programs to encourage and facilitate education. There are an additional 50 slots for kids for after school care over at Sullivan Elementary School at 5300 Ditman Street.
At the EPIC Stakeholders meeting last month there was a discussion about the idea of getting high school students to tour colleges. The purpose is not so much to pick a college but to get them to actually see one first hand. The club has such a program in place.
The club also has a Drill Team that has performed at many events in the neighborhood and throughout Philadelphia.
I asked Ninette about what the club needs. She said she gets great support from Councilwoman Sanchez and the state representatives. The basics are covered but the building is old and there are some capital improvements that have to be put on hold until the economy makes a turn around. She says she has a tremendous staff who every day go about the business of saving lives. The club can be that important in the life of some of these kids.
You can read all about the programs at the club website” http://www.bgcphila.org/home. You can call 215-743-7515 or better yet, stop by and say hello. They will be happy to talk to you and your child.