The Boys and Girls Club of Seymour is receiving $10,000 and needs the public’s help deciding how to spend it.
Thanks to T-Mobile’s You Know Best Community Outreach Program, the club will be able to complete one of two projects that will benefit area youth and the community.
One of the projects involves refinishing the club’s gymnasium floor, while the other focuses on renovating educational areas, including the art and learning centers.
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People can vote online through the club’s Facebook page which project they would like to see the money go toward. Whichever one receives the most votes by Oct. 4 will be funded.
Ryon Wheeler, executive director of the club, said T-Mobile has become a valuable supporter and resource in helping carry out the club’s mission “to inspire and empower youth to realize their full potential as productive, caring and responsible citizens.”
But the club also is evolving to serve the community in other ways, Wheeler added.
During the early part of the COVID-19 pandemic, the club became a source of child care for families.
“(T-Mobile) approached us during COVID and wanted to help with our COVID efforts,” Wheeler said. “And so they provided some funds to help keep us open, keep things rolling.”
That donation was in the amount of $2,000, but it was just the beginning of T-Mobile’s relationship with the Boys and Girls Club, Wheeler said.
“We had some conversations, and they approached us about this You Know Best contest,” he said.
All Wheeler and his staff had to do was come up with some projects that would be really good for the club and T-Mobile would provide the funding for it.
“They said just dream big,” Wheeler said.
Once he learned the amount would be $10,000, Wheeler said he discussed it further with staff and narrowed it down to the two projects.
The gym floor was chosen as one project because of the amount of use it gets by club members and the community.
“We had about 4,000 kids come through the club in this past year, and a lot of that was for the gym,” he said.
Besides its everyday after-school use by members, the gym hosts youth and adult basketball and volleyball leagues and an indoor tot playground for children who are preschool aged or younger. It also rents out the gym for private use.
“The floor has not been refinished in a very long time,” Wheeler said.
As for the educational areas, Wheeler said they have become a main focus of what the club is doing in providing homework help and a place for eLearning.
If the educational areas are chosen by the public, the money will go to purchase new furniture that’s adjustable and versatile for use by all ages, he said.
And if that wasn’t enough, T-Mobile also is looking at investing $4,000 to sponsor the club’s youth basketball league and provide funds to purchase staff gear, Wheeler said.
Wheeler said he is thankful so many have stepped up to support the club during uncertain times.
“I really think us being open and serving kids has made a big difference,” he said. “But it’s our job. We’re here to serve kids and families.”
On the Web
Help the Boys and Girls Club of Seymour decide how to spend $10,000 from T-Mobile by going online to the club’s Facebook page, facebook.com/pg/bgcseymour, to vote.
The club is considering two projects for the funding — refinishing the gym floor or renovating the educational areas with new furniture.