Director: Boys and Girls Club’s mission is to help kids

Parkersburg Boys and Girls Club Executive Director Ben Shuman appears before the Wood County Commission on Monday to discuss the services the organization provides to the community. (Photo by Brett Dunlap)

PARKERSBURG — The Parkersburg Boys and Girls Club is continually impacting the lives of young people in the community, according to its executive director,

Parkersburg Boys and Girls Club Executive Director Ben Shuman appeared before the commission on Monday to discuss the services it provides.

Last week, the commission passed a resolution recognizing National Boys and Girls Club Week in Wood County.

”The mission of the Boys and Girls Club is we are here for the kids in our community to make sure they become productive individuals and have a bright path to their future,” Shuman said.

The organization has around 1,000 kids join the club every year, Shuman said. On any given day, 80-100 kids are at the club during after-school time.

Around 90 percent of those kids come from Wood County.

Over the summer, once school is out, they expect to be serving around 200 kids on a daily basis. They will be open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. during that time.

From 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. the club will be doing learning-loss-prevention work, called Summer Brain Gain, so the kids do not fall behind when they return to school in the fall.

”(Some kids) see a 2-3 month grade level decline during the summer months,” Shuman said. ”If we can keep them on par so they don’t lose anything. We try to do it in intensive and hands on interesting ways.”

These programs cover math, science, history and reading, including uses of technology. A new robotics program will be starting.

Businesses and organizations help the Boys and Girls Club to increase the number of participants.

The organizations help provide services to working families who need somewhere they can bring their kids, somewhere safe, while they are at work.

”Many of our families are working families and they are trying to make ends meet,” Shuman said. ”We are open on snow days, because businesses don’t close on snow days and people still have to go to work.”

In other business:

∫ The commission passed resolutions saying the county is partnering with the U.S. Census Bureau to ensure every resident is counted during the 2020 U.S. Census. Census data helps determine state and federal funding and representation in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The commission has agreed to form the Wood County Complete Count Committee, bringing together community and business leaders to reach out to people to make sure they participate in the census.

∫ The commission wants the Wood County Assessor’s Office to provide numbers on what the county might lose if a tax increment financing (TIF) district is established in Vienna around the Grand Central Mall. A TIF is being considered to help finance improvement projects around the mall property. Officials know that investment could mean additional jobs and tax revenue for the area.They want to see how the county revenue might be impacted as a result.

∫ The commission will be sending a notice to Larry Cline, who has a mobile home set up in the right of way of Grandview Street, to appear before the commission to discuss the situation. The mobile home was starting to go over a hillside and he had it moved to more level ground in the roadway. A woman who owns a lot farther down the road wants to build there and does not have access to the roadway because of the mobile home.

Wood County compliance officer Sarah Farnsforth said she has met with Cline about the problem, but nothing has been done yet. There could be other issues that are preventing him from immediately taking care of the situation, she said.