Boys and Girls Club of the Heartland expands to Dunklin County

The Boys and Girls Club of the Heartland is expanding. The organization will offer after-school programs for kids in Dunklin County
Published: Aug. 3, 2023 at 4:36 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 3, 2023 at 6:18 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

MALDEN, Mo. (KFVS) - The Boys and Girls Club of the Heartland provides kids with free, after-school programs, and will soon have a branch in Malden.

Malden mom of three Bridget Smith said she’s excited Malden Elementary will soon be used for after school activities with the Boys and Girls Club.

“We don’t have anything like this in our community and these kids here need something to do,” she told us.

“More opportunities to learn different things outside of our school system, so I think it will be a great opportunity for all the kids,” she added.

The new afternoon program will be housed at Malden, but will serve Riso and Gideon’s school districts as well.

Malden Superintendent Carie Fowler said the school district saw a need for a free, after-school program like this in the Bootheel.

“We are very excited because the Boys and Girls Club offers a lot of chances for our kids to join clubs and programs that they are interested in, in a fun and engaging environment,” said Fowler.

“Our area is very rural and a lot of kids don’t have opportunities for enrichment programs or after school activities,” she added.

Especially now that Malden School District switched to a four-day school week.

Chris Rushin is the chief executive officer for Boys and Girls Club of the Heartland.

“That Monday kids don’t have anywhere to go, that’s where we step in, Boys and Girls Club is not meant to take the place of teachers, the schools or the parents,” Rusin said. “We are here to fill in those gaps.”

He said the new branch of the club will offer their program on Mondays from 7:30 in the morning to 6:30 at night this school year.

“We are also going to feed those kids breakfast, lunch and dinner,” he added. “Unfortunately, sometimes the last meal of the day a kid will get is lunch that day. We try to fill that gap. Last year we served over 50,000 meals at our ten sites from Neelyville and throughout Poplar Bluff.”

Brittany Smith said programs like this can make all the difference for parents like her.

“They’ll have something to do until I get off work; and then for all of the other parents who have to work late this will help with money because babysitting is expensive and then they’re going to be able to learn things and that home and maybe teach their parents too,” said Smith.

Registration for Boys and Girls Club opened on August 3. You can register online here.