For this episode of Community Conversations, we spoke with Dr. Regi Ratliff, Program Director of the Dumfries Boys & Girls Club, and Judy Moore, Branch Director of the club.
Q: So tell us a little about the Dumfries Club.
RR: Well, the Dumfries Boys & Girls Club is designed to work with youth, ages six through 18, and we try to bring programs – character building programs – that will them to transition from one stage of their life to the next. From elementary to junior high, from junior high to high school, and beyond, so that they have a great experience in a safe environment.
Q: So tell me about some of the programs that you have coming up.
RR: Some of the programs that we have, that we’re excited about, is our Jr. ACCE program and our ACCE program. The Jr. ACCE program, which stands for ‘Achieving Career and College Excellence’ is for those students who are sixth through eighth grade. And then there’s the ACCE program, that’s designed for high schoolers. We prepare them through our STEAM and our STEM programs, helping them with college and career prep, so that again, when they transition from one stage of their life to the next, that they’ll be prepared for that. And we also have character building programs that are focused on mentoring and homework assistance.
Q: So, it sounds like these programs are really meant to benefit the kids. What kind of outcomes have you seen by having these kinds of programs in the Dumfries area?
RR: Well we have an average daily attendance of 108 kids – that’s kind of a testament to their interest in our programs. And some of our programs, as a result of some of our homework assistance programs like Power Hour – we have daily homework assistance there – and then we have some of our mentoring programs, that allows our youth to come back and take advantage of like Passport to Manhood, and also SMART Girls. So, we teach them the components of how to make good decisions at critical times, and how to be a good sport if you will, and to always have a positive attitude about themselves.
Q: Can you tell us about some supporters who have helped you this past year?
JM: So one of our big supporters this past year was Southern Management, which is a management company, and they own different apartment complexes in the Northern Virginia region. But they came in and they did a clean up day, so they were there one whole day. They also came in one day – and striped our parking lot, came in and spread two dump truck loads of mulch all over our playground, and painted our outdoor basketball court – just did a really good job with cleaning up some of the areas of our club that needed it.
Q: But you don’t have to be a big company to support the Boys & Girls Club. So how can say an individual business owner, who say maybe owns a plumbing company, compared to a big company – how can they help?
JM: If they want to contact us – we always have little projects that need to be done around the club – they can help that way. If they want to just come in and volunteer, we’re always looking for volunteers, whether it be in our athletics or our homework Power Hour program, or just coming in and hanging out with the kids, and getting to know the kids.
Q: And you can also use financial donations. It does take money to run these clubs.
RR: It absolutely does, and this is the time of the year where you can make an end-of-year contribution to your local Boys & Girls Club, and in this case Dumfries, to help us continue our program, continue to strengthen it, so we can continue to have initiatives that will serve as a benefit for our members, our young members.
Q: And so, you do have some programs that are coming up here, that they can sign up for between now and into January. What would they be?
RR: Well we have a basketball – a sports program that includes basketball and volleyball. That’s coming up in January – we’re approaching the end of our fall season for basketball and volleyball. So, this is a good time to prepare registering for our winter league in basketball, as well as volleyball. We also have an end-of-year Christmas party on December 8 – one of our partners in the club is called Star Performing Arts – they work with our youth in dance, and singing, and acting, and they’re going to put on a show. So we’re really excited about that because these are kids who are giving back amongst themselves in the club, and welcome to the community at large.
Q: Do you have anything in January, because I know we’re in a very busy time of year. Anything coming up in January that people want to think about signing up for?
JM: We are having a jump rope clinic that’s coming up in January, that will be happening at the Dale City Club – it’s all three clubs together – but we have a jump rope program at our club right now, and they will be sponsoring that jump rope clinic.
Check back for the next episode of Community Conversations.
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