The Boys and Girls Club is a nationwide program, helping children in need find a place where they belong. Well with large amounts of vandalism and juvenile crime, Massena town leaders hope such a program might be an answer to their problems. Our Cara Thomas spoke with a Boys and Girls Club representative about what this program could do for the community.
MASSENA, N.Y. -- Massena Police Chief Tim Currier says juvenile mischief is a constant problem in their town, especially after school and during the summer. From cemetery vandalism to car thefts, community members say they're ready for a change. Not only will Massena be implementing surveillance cameras in the near future, they're looking for other solutions as well.
"It's really concerned us to see that continually on the rise and not really have an alternative for our youth in our community," said Chief Currier.
He says the Massena Neighborhood Watch is exploring all of their options, researching programs and organizations that might be able to help. One idea is creating a Boys and Girls Club in Massena.
Currier said, "This was just really a natural progression for us to start looking at ways to get kids more involved, get them off the street. Give them an opportunity to do something other than just hanging out."
Dave Ross, a Boys and Girls Club Regional Director, said, "The club can provide a place, a safe place, for kids to go, a place where they can learn."
While the Boys and Girls Club is not an educational facility, students learn right from wrong and develop relationships with other kids and adults, similar to day camps or other after school programs. Dave Ross says the organization has served more than four million children nationwide since the late 1800s. And studies show, the club has made a difference.
"Those studies show that not only do crime and vandalism decrease but the wear and tear on the facilities of the housing developments has improved significantly, they start caring about their community," said Ross.
A Boys and Girls Club has paid staff, as well as volunteers, and is open when kids need it most, after school, on weekends and during the summer months.
Massena's Neighborhood Watch committee held a meeting Tuesday night where Ross shared information about the organization and its potential impact on the community. Chief Currier says the group will continue to research all possibilities to find the best option for Massena.