United Way supports Boys and Girls Club

Editor’s note: This is the next in a series of articles about the member agencies of the United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley.

PARKERSBURG – Among the agencies receiving assistance from the United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley is the Boys and Girls Club of Parkersburg.

Ben Shuman, executive director, said the United Way provides a large part of the organization’s funding in helping members with academics.

“The United Way provided more than $30,000 in funding for us in 2013,” he said. “They funded ‘Project Learn’ which covers ‘Power Hour,’ the homework help and tutoring as well as the high-yield learning activities in other club areas immediately after school.”

Shuman said “Project Learn” activities take place between 3-5 p.m.

Another program funded by the United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley was “More Members, More Often.”

“The goal of that is to provide more resources for more kids to come to the club and to increase the number of times they are arriving at the club each week,” Shuman said. “We know if they come to the club a minimum once a week we have a measurable positive effect on their lives; if they come twice a week, on average, the results are an almost exponential increase in that effect.”

Shuman said their attendance improves academic performance, fitness and high school graduation rates.

“They increase in those areas the more often they are here,” he said. “As we look at negative things like teen pregnancy, involvement in drug and alcohol use and involvement in the juvenile justice system, those decrease the more often they are here at the Boys and Girls Club.”

Shuman said the United Way’s funding will continue to assist the same programs for 2014.

“‘Project Learn’ has received long-term funding from United Way that has been consistent for many years,” he said. “‘More Members, More Often’ is new in 2013, this is the first year.”

In 2012, Shuman said, the United Way helped to fund a portable swimming pool lift that was installed to make the pool accessible for any youth wanting to use the pool or to learn to swim.

Shuman said the club has been with the United Way since opening 49 years ago.