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Lack of funding, dwindling numbers led to club's closing

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Updated: 7/24/2013 9:52 am
HOUSTON, Miss. (WTVA) — Houston ninth grader Jordan Gillespie said he was a frequent member of the Houston Boys & Girls Club.

"Around here, we really don't have nothing to do at all. I'm active in sports, so I have a little to do," Gillespie said. "For the other kids to not have anything to do, that's wrong. I think they should keep it open."

His sentiment is shared by many in the city, but it's not that simple.

On Tuesday, the organization's advisory board recommended closing the facility for two reasons.

"[The decision was made] due to a lack of community support and decreased attendance," Boys & Girls Clubs of North Mississippi Chief Professional Officer Zell Long said.

That lack of support translates into one thing: a lack of funding from the community.

Some might think that the facility wouldn't cost much to run.

Long said the annual cost comes to around $160,000.

Plus, she adds that they still have expenses for this month.

"There are some costs still out there that we're going to have to cover. We're hoping that the community will help us in that effort," Long said.

Long said the Houston location's closing can be averted -- and the doors reopened -- if they get enough community funding and support.

"We're hoping that it will be just a temporary situation," Long said.

Those who've grown up in the Boys & Girls Club say it's essential that these organizations are still available for area children and teens.

"It keeps us out of trouble and it helps people who don't have friends to make friends there," resident Artasia Atkinson said.

Many say that direction is invaluable to young teenagers.

Those would like to help with funding for the Houston location can contact the Boys & Girls Clubs of North Mississippi office at (662) 841-6504.
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