Frost Illustrated Staff Report
FORT WAYNE—On Aug. 16, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fort Wayne announced the opening of a new site in southeast Fort Wayne. The new site, located within Fellowship Missionary Church at 2536 East Tillman Road, officially opened for members, on Aug. 19.
According to Boys & Girls Club officials The southeast side of Fort Wayne, especially the 46806 zip code, is an area of about 26,000 people and mainly part of the East Allen County Schools district. Among this populace, nearly half are under the age of 27 (48 percent). Only seven percent of the population over the age of 24 has a college degree, which is less than half the national average. Additionally, 60 percent of the homes are single parent households (50 percent mothers, 10 percent fathers) more than doubling the national average.
Officials said Fellowship Missionary Church is strategically located on the southeast side of the city demonstrating a strong commitment to the residents who live there while advocating for the needs of these residents. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Fort Wayne actively seeks to enrich the lives of children and teens other agencies have had difficulty reaching. The two organizations said they believe that by combining the reputation, location and facility of the church with the proven success, curriculum and staff of the Boys & Girls Clubs, they can substantially enhance the lives and shape the future of hundreds of youth in the area.
Toward that goal, Fellowship Missionary Church is donating 45,000 square feet of space within their facility to provide program space and facility maintain. East Allen County Schools will provide transportation from the school within their district to the new Club site. Financial support for staffing has been provided by the United Way of Allen County, the Foellinger Foundation and private donations.
The new Club site will provide a complete schedule of after-school programming to support academic success, healthy lifestyles, and character and leadership development. Additionally, homework assistance and a meal are provided to each member Mondays through Friday during the hours of 3 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. during the school year. Membership is open to children and teens between the ages of six and 18. The membership fee is $15 per club member or $35 for a family of three or more for a full year of programming. Families may get membership applications by calling (260) 744-998 or downloading the application at www.bgcfw.org.
Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fort Wayne, Joe Jordan, said, “It’s amazing what can happen when you have organizations, who have shared values, come together in behalf of the community. We are extremely excited about the opportunity to serve youth on the southeast side of Fort Wayne. Because of this collaboration, we have the opportunity to impact over 200 youth on a daily basis. Fellowship Missionary Church has already demonstrated their commitment to the families and children on the southeast quadrant of Fort Wayne. To have them allow the Boys & Girls Clubs to establish a site inside of their facility is huge and will positively impact the southeast community.”
“As part of our commitment to the people of south Fort Wayne, Fellowship is thrilled to partner with Joe Jordan and the Boys and Girls Clubs,” added Dave DeSelm, pastor of Fellowship Missionary Church.
A press conference to officially announce the new Club site opening and acknowledge partners and contributors to the expansion of services was held Aug. 16 at Fellowship Missionary Church.
The three Fort Wayne Boys & Girls Club locations offer a safe place, professional staff and fun and life-enhancing programs. The Clubs currently serve more than 300 children and teens between the ages of six to 18 each weekday, and more than 1,500 members annually. Core program areas are career exploration and educational enhancement, character and leadership development, the arts, health and life skills, and fitness. The mission of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fort Wayne is to inspire all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, and responsible citizens. For more about the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fort Wayne go to www.bgcfw.org.
This article originally appeared in the Aug. 28 print edition.