By JB Clark/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – The Boys and Girls Club of North Mississippi honored supporters over breakfast and enlisted their continued support over the next year to help keep the program strong.
Breakfast was held at the Northside campus, which underwent renovations this year.
Sherrie Cochran, executive director of Keep Tupelo Beautiful, walked attendees through the building renovations, calling the supporters “Champions For Youth.”
Eagle Scout Matthew Blaine led the project to renovate the buildings outside with paint from Sherwin Williams and Eagle Scout Clayton Sewell collected books and then stocked the club’s library.
Lowes provided workers, and the Tupelo Garden Club worked with Tupelo Public Works to landscape the campus with trees, shrubs and year-round blooms.
Fast Wrapz provided signs and Tupelo Manufacturing made custom durable furniture purchased through a grant from the city’s Quality of Life Committee.
In all, the renovations totaled $19,197 worth of donated materials, time and services.
Louis Conley attended the Northside Boys and Girls Club as a child and spoke about the impact it had on his life.
“I attended this club at some of its aesthetically worse times,” Conley said. “To see the transformation has been amazing.”
Conley lived in the Northside Highland neighborhood for 20 years and as a fifth grader began attending the club.
“I was fortunate that my mother was very engaged in making sure we got a good education,” Conley said. “However, she was a single parent with four boys so her time was stretched really thin. There were plenty of opportunities for those four boys to get into trouble. That’s where the Boys and Girls club came in and filled that void.”
Conley said the club’s programs encouraged him to be a leader and taught him to work hard. He graduated from Tupelo High School and Millsaps College and now works for Renasant Bank.
“I’m so thankful this organization was here to reinforce the lessons my mom was teaching in my home because I could be somewhere else now,” he said. “They helped me access my leadership potential.”
Conley asked those in attendance to pledge their financial support over the next year to ensure that the next class of students has the same opportunities.
“There are so many kids who walk through that door everyday who have so much leadership potential,” Conley said. “Because we’re a nonprofit, we run into some budget shortfalls, but I’m living proof that this program works.”