Grant Allows Boys And Girls Club To Expand In Sandusky

Boys & Girls Club of Erie County has been awarded a highly competitive, five-year, $850,000 federal grant that will enable it to more than double the number kids served in the afterschool program and directly connect the Club to the Sandusky City Schools for the first time.

The federal 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant will fund the opening of a new Club site in Ontario Village at Adams, 318 Columbus Ave.Currently, BGCEC serves about 60 kids a day at two sites in Sandusky -- a youth center at 431 Columbus Ave. and a teen center 2112 Cleveland Road.

The new Club will open Sept. 3rd and is expected to serve more than 100 kids. Ontario Village at Adams houses Ontario Elementary School, but pupils from other district schools will be bused to the Club.

Registration information for the new Club will be available at the schools’ district-wide open house on Aug. 27.

BGCEC is a branch of the new Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Ohio, which was formed by the merger of Clubs in Erie, Cuyahoga, Summit and Lorain counties. Clubs provide safe, fun places for kids ages 6-18 after school, focusing on academic success, healthy lifestyles and character development.

“We are thrilled,” said Leslie Murray, a Sandusky attorney and vice chair of the BGCNEO board. “A key reason why Erie County supported this merger was that we felt we would be stronger together. This 21st Century grant shows the power of the merger. I’m really happy Sandusky is first.”

The Sandusky award was one of only 34 new 21st Century grants approved by the Ohio Department of Education.

Ron Soeder, BGCNEO’s interim president and CEO, said the grant award is one of the first benefits of the merger, which took effect July 1. Staff members from the Lorain County, Cleveland and Erie County Clubs collaborated on the grant proposal and used Lorain County’s historical success in winning 21st Century funding as a roadmap for this application.

“This successful grant shows the power of collaboration and shared resources,” Soeder said.

The Afterschool Alliance calls 21st Century “a critical source of funding for many local afterschool programs.” This is the first 21st Century grant awarded to Boys & Girls Club of Erie County.

"We could not be more excited to partner with the Boys & Girls Club of Erie County to help better serve our students and the community,” said Dr. Stephen Sturgill, the school district’s Chief of Staff and Transformation Officer. “We want to offer opportunities for our students to grow and learn outside of the classroom walls, and this club is going to do just that. Ontario Village at Adams is the perfect location for this club and as we move into our new schools, we will assess the needs of the program, in partnership with the Boys & Girls Club, and make sure we plan for future growth.”

The Adams Building – now Orange Village at Adams – was Sandusky’s original high school. Built in 1867, it is the second oldest school building still in active use in Ohio.

Photos by: Ken Wood / Boys and Girls Club

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