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Massena Board of Education approves Boys and Girls Club program at Jefferson Elementary School

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MASSENA — The Massena Central School District’s Board of Education has approved a memorandum of understanding that will allow the Boys and Girls Club of Massena to operate two days per week beginning this fall out of Jefferson Elementary School.

But, before the paperwork is signed, the board wants its attorney to review the one-page document and add a termination clause that would allow the arrangement to be ended if necessary. “I think we should run this through our attorney to make sure we dot the I’s and cross the T’s,” board member Kevin F. Perretta said.

Board President John R. Boyce also suggested adding the termination clause.

As part of the agreement, the club will implement the Boys and Girls Club of America’s programming as an after-school program; make membership in the club available to all students; act as a host for after-school program activities and events; provide training for the club’s staff and volunteers; work with Jefferson’s staff and volunteers to devise programs that will “support the growth and progress of after-school participants,” and help recruit and train volunteer mentors for the after-school program.

In return, the school will make its facilities available for the programming and joint activities; act as a host site for after-school program activities and special events; work with club staff and volunteers to devise programs to support the growth and progress of participants; help recruit and train volunteer mentors, and identify appropriate students for referral to the program.

“There’s many programs throughout the Boys and Girls Club that we can incorporate. It’s a matter of finding the right fit for Jefferson,” Boys and Girls Club of Massena Program Chairman Gabe Hinkley said.

Jefferson Elementary School Principal Duane Richards said the school has been working since the end of the school year to craft the partnership. He said he originally met with Boys and Girls Club Board President Timmy J. Currier and Mr. Hinkley to see if the program interested the district.

The district agreed it would be helpful for Jefferson Elementary School students who needed extra help after school. The program will be held from 3 to 6 p.m. two days a week and can accept a maximum of 100 participants.

“It’s kind of a branch of the Boys and Girls Club that will take place prior to the opening of the Boys and Girls Club” in the former St. Joseph’s social hall on Bayley Road, Mr. Richards said.

The Alcoa Foundation stepped up recently and provided the club an $85,000 grant for the pilot program.

The initial target for the program beginning on Oct. 7 will be for Jefferson students in grades three through six, with staff members of the Boys and Girls Club running the program. Teachers will communicate and coordinate with the club’s staff, Mr. Richards said.

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