Saturday, February 17, 2018

For the kids


In For the kids

Bryan Partee

By Bryan Partee
Jan. 5, 2017 at noon
Updated Jan. 5, 2017 at 11:44 a.m.

I love some David Bowie!

So last night I was in Longview for a parent meeting. A whole lot of parents, probably 150. Some were angry, some had questions. There were some angry eyes, but for the most part it went well. It was informational. 

I do want to take the time to publicly thank a small group of five ladies, one being Commissioner Nona Snoddy, who stayed for an extra hour with me asking questions. In the interest of disclosure, let me hit the high points. 

Why are you doing this? The plan on this was twofold. On the business side there are shared services. Financially, it makes sense, plus the overall increase in size allows us to have a bit more buying power for the Club. On the impact side, this is a way for us to reach more kids; to make sure more kids are allowed to get into an after school program. One lady mentioned to me that she lives on the north side of Longview but likes her kids coming to this Club, which is great, but to my point right now how many kids are we serving on the north side of Longview? A handful? I suspect that we can now hit a few hundred

What are the sites and the hours? We will be on every campus for three hours after school gets out. If your school gets out at 3:45, we will be 3:45-6:45. If you get out at 3, we will be 3-6. The hours for the main unit will remain unchanged. Ned E. Williams, Foster Middle, and Johnston McQueen will all be bused to the main site.

We are not Marshall. Wholey moley, I heard 'but we are not Marshall' a zillion times. I understand that. For anyone that knows, when I referenced Marshall (or Gladewater or Hallsville) it was purely from an experiential point of view. These were my points of reference. I know that each community that we serve is different (compare the differences between Hallsville and Jefferson for example) as well as the different areas of Longview being different.

Kids aren't going to want to stay on campus.Kids come to Boys & Girls Clubs because of the people that lead the programs. It has not been our experience in Marshall (just a little fun based on the point above) that the location mattered nearly as much as the people running it. 

Roll Out. We had a lot of discussion about the roll out. I agree that we would loved to have had more time, but considering the the end of the business year, the timing of the LISD school board meeting, and the fact that we were coming onto a break - it all contributed to some quick movement, but necessitated movement. 

The numbers aren't matching. We have no idea about how many kids we will or will not have at a particular location. We will start off with base-numbers. If one site explodes with 100 kids, we will hire more staff to meet that need. The biggest challenge for the Club is anticipating total enrollment for a new project like this, but usually after a couple weeks, we will have a gauge on enrollment and then have more definitive staffing. 

Look, it is change. I get that, but we have a great model nationally through Boys & Girls Clubs of America. I am excited that will have the availability to impact more kids and change more lives. It has worked for us historically. Our goal is to serve more kids with quality programming. The current Longview staff has that awesome training and expectations through Ms. Joyce. Sure there will be some growing as we do this, but we will serve more kids. We will make sure that kids don't have to go home to an empty house. 

As I mentioned before, it was brought up by some as Marshall vs Longview. I am taking a more global 10,000' view to say that we are serving East Texas kids. A kid in Ore City needs the Club as much as a kid in South Longview...or West Longview. We serve kids and will continue to serve kids.

One final thing. There were a lot of people there last night, as previously mentioned. It was hard to hear. Hard to hear questions asked. Keep an eye on our webpage as I will host more parent meetings, but will do them in smaller groups of 25-30 at a time. The times for these parent meetings are coming. Trust me, I have seen enough parent meetings with 3 parents involved in their kid's lives. It was a really great thing to have so many concerned parents. 

Again 10,000' view. I am right there with you on wanting to provide for all kids.



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