Boys & Girls Club returns to Pontiac, offers free memberships to city youth

The Boys & Girls Club is coming back to Pontiac.

On Wednesday, Aug. 12, officials announced the return of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan to the city, providing Pontiac youth membership to the Club free of charge.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan (BGCSM) will operate from the Pontiac Youth Recreation and Enrichment Center, which is slated to reopen on Tuesday, Sept. 8.

"I am happy to welcome BGCSM back to Pontiac after their hiatus. So many of our citizens remember the days when Boys & Girls Clubs played an active role in the community," says Mayor Deirdre Waterman, City of Pontiac.

"Two years ago, our citizen passed the millage to open the youth center here in Pontiac which was a testament to how important it was to provide access to health and wellness activities as well as growth and enrichment programs to our youth. We’re proud to have BGCSM as a strategic partner and to have a Club location back in our city again."

Thousands of Pontiac youth, ranging in ages from 4- to 21-years-old, will be provided free memberships to the Club. Programs offered will include Passport to Manhood, SMART Girls, Triple Play, Power Hour, Virtual Club, career exploration, and youth entrepreneur and small business start-up training.

This is the eleventh location for BGCSM, which is currently in the midst of its Reimagine Initiative. The initiative aims to increase the organization’s impact by doubling the amount of youth it serves and improving the economic mobility of its surrounding neighborhoods.

More than $350,000 was raised to bring BGCSM and its programming to Pontiac, including gifts of $200,000 from the United Way for Southeastern Michigan, $150,000 from the Williams International Education Fund, and $5,000 from Pontiac entrepreneur Ed Bahoura.

"While we work with hundreds of organizations across the region, I am encouraged [that] we are able to provide support for programs that have an immediate and long-lasting impact in the community," says Tonya Adair, chief impact officer for the United Way for Southeastern Michigan.

"Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan and City of Pontiac are proactively providing much-needed support for young people, as so many are concerned about the ongoing economic and cultural impact of the pandemic."

A full day of virtual and on-site programming is scheduled from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 8, celebrating the reopening of the Pontiac Youth Recreation and Enrichment Center.

The Pontiac Youth Recreation and Enrichment Center is located at 825 Golf Dr. in Pontiac.

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MJ Galbraith is a writer and musician living in Detroit. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.