City Councilman Kenny Hardin Provides an Update on Bringing Boys & Girls Clubs to Salisbury

Posted on December 29, 2016

♦ In the past few weeks, several people have reached out asking about whether Salisbury is planning to have a Boys & Girls Club chapter or offering to help. So, I want to update everyone on our progress. This is an independent effort that’s not a part of or involved with the City of Salisbury. I’m working with a small committee to bring this to our City.

First a little backstory. There are two other efforts a few years ago by other groups to bring this needed initiative to our City, but it was met with strong opposition from some in the business and nonprofit community, and the effort failed.

Back in January 2016, I revived the effort and was met with similar opposition. I was told by a VP of the United Way that I would not receive any financial assistance from their organization. The YMCA Director reached out to me and asked me to forgo plans and just add our services to the YMCA. He even asked to merge Tsunami Literacy with the Y. I declined.
Another Rep from a nationally recognized organization went to the County and asked that they not support my effort. I was told I would be taking money from the Y if I moved forward. I explained that the missions are totally different as well as the populations that would be served.

I told the United Way to keep their money and I would find other sources of funding. I contacted the woman who went to the County and told her to stay out of my business moving forward.
So, I reorganized and refocused my efforts and decided to move forward with a different approach that would not involve those that attempted to subvert my initial efforts. I reached out to a few individuals that I had respect for their community involvement and expertise and I knew. I personally asked them to work on a planning committee with me. They included Dennis L. Rivers, Bruce Titus, Chris Sifford, Janine Evans, DeCarlo Duling, Shawn Henderson and Steve Clark.

In a few short months, we have made significant progress with a projected opening date of September 2017. The support I’ve received locally, regionally, and across the Country has been great. From the outset when I first introduced the idea, Bobby Jackson showed his support. My Brother Michael Oden leveraged his contacts in Las Vegas and put me in touch with the Floyd Mayweather camp.

I had a great recent discussion with Dr. Lynn Moody, School System Superintendent as well as other conversations with community, political and business leaders. I have spoken with the National office in Atlanta, the Regional office in SC and the Executive Director of the Concord BGC Facility. We will be working closely with the Concord and Statesville facilities.

The Committee has identified three areas to focus-Cultural Enrichment, Athletics and Educational Assistance. We are now working on establishing viable and measurable programs under each field. We have identified four locations and are in discussions to secure buildings and/or land. Our goal is to build a freestanding facility but are looking at vacant buildings as well. Fundraising efforts to secure benefactors, donors and financial supporters ate also underway. I’ve been very pleased with the amount of generous support we’ve been shown by those who recognize this need.
As we get closer to our opening date, I will provide more specific information. In the interim, I will keep you abreast of the hard work being done by the committed committee .

I appreciate those who have sent me messages and reached out offering their assistance.

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