Boys and Girls Club continue reaching to teens

Abbeville’s Boys and Girls Club of Acadiana have added another reason to be in the lives of their members.

A Teen Room has been added at the Abbeville club to create a place for teenagers to escape to once school is out. The teen room will have a full-time supervisor along with a snack bar, a foos-ball table, couches, chairs, a television/movie station, an X-Box 360 game and a Playstation Game ready to use at any time. And, the games are played with wireless controllers.

Unit director Brian Ford said that the Teen Room came about from a group effort of a handful of area businesses. “Mike David at Stine’s Lumber, District Manager David Collins with Aaron’s Rent To Own, and Kendall Doucet with Kendall’s Flooring all played a major roll in putting this room together. We’ve always believed (at the club) that teens need their own space where they can do things away from the smaller children, and a place to be able to do their homework or to just have a place to hang out.”

“Teens today have so many influences hanging over them outside of school that include jobs, school clubs and sports, and other activities, that they just need a place to relax,” said Ford. “The guys who helped us with this project never once hesitated. Stine’ss painted the walls, provided the flooring and did the carpentry; Kendall laid the flooring; the City of Abbeville did the electrical work for us; Cox Cable ran the wires for our connections; and Aaron’s provided the carpets, the couches, the chairs, the snackbar, the three big screen televisions and the gaming systems.”

Ford said the concept of the Teen Room did not come from his planning. He said that he met with the teens in his club and got their input as to what they wanted in the room. As a result, the walls are striped in three dominant colors that match those used by Abbeville High School: red, gray and black. Some of the walls are solid colors, while others are a mix of the three colors.

Complete with separate air conditioning and heating from the main building, Ford estimates that over 100 teens will have access to using the room during their year.

Abbeville Police Chief Rick Coleman serves on the local board of directors for the Club and commented that “during this time of apparent economic difficulties, it is a tremendous thing for private enterprise to step up to the challenge as these fine companies have done. Their actions speak to what is best in America and Acadiana. The teens that will pass through this club and this facility will continue to prove the Boys and Girls Club program is a success by becoming productive members of our society.”

Stine’s store manager Mike Davis said that the store tries to do something to give back to the community as well. “Every year, our team of associates try to do something to help people out in the community, and, this year, they decided that they wanted to do something that would touch more people. So the idea was to adopt the Boys and Girls Club. We met with Brian and he talked about the need for a teen center at the club and that Aaron’s Rental wanted to get involved. We both decided to make it become a reality. Our associates were very excited about the idea and they devoted a lot of their personal time to the project.”

For Aaron’s Rental, Regional Manager David Collins said the company “always wants to be known as a company that gives back to the communities we operate in. And I feel the Boys and Girls Clubs of Acadiana is deserving of whatever we can do, and so much more. The opportunity to partner up with other companies to create such a positive place for teenagers to hang out was too big to pass up. It’s all done for the kids. The teens of the Vermilion Unit shared with us their vision and we all did what we could to make it come true. It’s their place!” said Collins.

Now in his seventh year with the Boys and Girls Club, Ford said that the club has always focused on helping teens. “It’s important for both boys and girls to have a positive male role model in their lives, whether they get it here or at home or somewhere else. And to help the kids, the club offers “Passport to Manhood” for the boys and “Smart Girls” for the ladies. In addition, the Boys and Girls Club offers teenagers the Date Smart program to help prepare them as they grow into young adults,” commented Ford.

“It’s important to remember that these kids will all eventually be working for you, or may even be your boss at one point or your community leaders. Our goal is to make all of our kids as productive as possible. Stine’s, Aaron’s and Kendall have all helped us provide a service to our club teens.”

Summer registration for the club is currently underway. The $7 annual fee allows the children use of the center from 7:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Times during the school year are from 3 p.m. until 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. The club is located in the A. A. Comeaux Youth Building in Comeaux Park.

The Club provides a safe after-school environment for children between the ages of 6 - 18. For more information, call the Abbeville Unit at 337-898-9745 or the Lafayette main office at 337-238-9555

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