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Boys and Girls Club celebrates Lights on After School

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The Ogdensburg Boys and Girls Club is lighting the way when it comes to after school programs.

In partnership with the After School Alliance, the Boys and Girls Club held the 14th annual “Lights on After School Day” Thursday. Kids took a tour of the Ogdensburg Fire Department’s Fire Safety Trailer, played in a bounce house and a light bulb art contest.

The annual kids fair celebrates the importance of after school programs, which keeps kids safe, learning, and having fun long after the final bell rings.

The Boys and Girls Club has been providing a safe place for kids to go after school since 1964.

With tough economic times, executive director of the Boys and Girls Club Thomas P. Luckie said the after school program was never more important than it is today.

The Ogdensburg Boys and Girls Club has over 850 members from Ogdensburg and surrounding areas, including Heuvelton and Lisbon.

“We have about 140 kids here a day during peak months as opposed to 10 years ago when we had 80 to 90,” Mr. Luckie said.

For a $6 signup fee, kids can join for the year and participate in computers, tutors, art programs, touch football league, and healthy snacks. But no one is turned away for inability to pay.

“We can do it cheaper and better than most other organizations,” Mr. Luckie said.

Thanks to a state grant, the organization now provides free dinners on Thursdays.

“We try to provide kids with at least one homemade dinner a week, so we can help them eat right,” Mr. Luckie said.

Next year the organization will celebrate its 50th anniversary in the community.

“We really couldn’t have done it without the support of the community,” Mr. Luckie said. “With tough financial times, some areas of giving are down, but individual giving is up.”

Mr. Luckie believes that programs like Boys and Girls Club can help mold a child’s future.

“We have a lot of alumni who give because the program has helped them in the past,” he said.

Joseph Cosmo, who became a staff member in September, said he remembers playing soccer at the Boys and Girls Club as a child.

“It’s great for kids who are looking for something else to do after school,” he said. “It’s pretty hectic here some days, but it’s a lot of fun.”

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