Showing posts with label Harrison School Community Learning Center. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Harrison School Community Learning Center. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Grinnell Street Boys & Girls Club closed for security reasons

What does that tell us about the success of the Harrison School/Neighborhood Impact Zone?

The East Bluff Boys and Girls Club (shown in photo above) is already crammed full of kids, in an area where crime is just a little too normal (the Glen Oak School Neighborhood Impact Zone). They are confined to playing on a very small lot, directly across the street from the Glen Oak Community Center. Now the Boys and Girls Club is adding 60 children from the Grinnell Street location to the mix - is there even room? And why bus them from the Harrison area to the East Bluff, can't they make use of the Harrison School, birth-through-eighth grade Community Learning Center?

Boys and Girls Club's site closed for summer
About 60 children being transported to East Bluff due to security concerns

The Boys and Girls Club's Grinnell Street site near the old Harrison Homes is closed for the summer because of security reasons, according to Leslie Matuszak, the agency's director. Instead, employees or parents are transporting about 60 children daily from the Harrison Homes area to the Boys and Girls Club along Kansas Street in the East Bluff.

"We're primarily running everything from our East Bluff location, primarily because of safety and costs," Matuszak said.

The closing stemmed from concerns about the safety of staff, as well as children who walk back and forth to Boys and Girls Club programs during the summer. Though the club is not responsible for children en route, Matuszak said some children have been approached by drug dealers or bullies as they walked back and forth to the Grinnell site.

"I can't pay a security guard $28 an hour and that's the going rate," she said. Security is less of a problem when school is in session, Matuszak added. Increased activity in and around Harrison Community Learning Center acts as a safety buffer.

One mother, dropping her children off at a van parked at the Grinnell Street site Monday, said her children preferred the East Bluff location. She did not want her named used.

Though the Grinnell site is closed, the agency still offers some programs on the south side this summer. For instance, children walk to a tutoring and mentoring program the Boys and Girls Club offers at Manual Academy.

The summer closing has also resulted in adjustments in the maintenance of a teaching garden the club maintains at Harrison school. Originally, children from the Grinnell Street site would care for the garden during the summer months. Currently, Boys and Girls Club staff transports children from the Kansas Street site a few times a week.

The Grinnell Street location has been closed since mid-June and will reopen in mid-August. About 500 children are involved in the club's summer programs. Source