Boys & Girls Club board stresses commitment to youth
To the Editor:
We are writing to clear up misconceptions that may result from a recent Wareham Week article, “Nonprofits join forces to explore community center options for Wareham seniors,” online Feb. 9.
Let us first say that the Advisory Committee of the Boys & Girls Club of Wareham is extremely sensitive to the needs of the town and its citizens, and we are supportive of any efforts to meet those needs.
That said, our primary allegiance as a group is to the children who are served by the Boys & Girls Club of Wareham. Our new home at the former Hammond School in Onset has facilitated our efforts to reach the population that needs us most: families whose children need a safe, stable, enriching, and economical place to be after school and during summer weekdays. Our proximity to Onset Beach has fostered partnerships with the Buzzards Bay Coalition and others who provide our children with opportunities they might not otherwise have. The implementation and expansion of programs that address academic attainment, Physical Fitness, literacy, science and healthy living, has paid tremendous dividends to our community’s youth.
A year ago, we heard rumors that the Boys & Girls Club of Wareham was to be closed. In fact, the club is as strong as it has ever been in its 10 years of affiliation as a unit of the Boys & Girls Club of New Bedford. We have a great working relationship with our parent club, and have had great success with rejuvenated local fundraising efforts.
The YMCA and the Boys & Girls Club are both national organizations with similar but different missions. It is important not to diminish the distinctions between the two organizations. The fact is that a representative of our club attended a meeting to discuss possible options to better serve our community should not have been construed as us “joining forces” with any other organization, certainly not before we had a chance to discuss the matter.
Much has been made of the fact that the Town of Wareham is among few communities that do not provide taxpayer support to a Council on Aging. We note that over a decade ago, there were several casualties of budget cuts, and both the Gleason Family YMCA and the Boys & Girls Club of Wareham stepped in, as private non-profits, to fill the void. We are both success stories to be emulated.
Wareham Advisory Committee Chair Miguel Gomes Sr. and members
Boys & Girls Club of Greater New Bedford