St. Landry

Jul 14, 2011 6:39 PM by Melissa Hawkes

Opelousas Boys and Girls Reopening in August

After being closed for the summer, the Boys and Girls Club in Opelousas has enough money to reopen this August.

Cornell Kennerson's two children usually spend their summer days at the club. He says this summer he's been stressed out trying to find someone to take care of them while he's at work.

Kennerson said, "everyday my daughter asks me where am I going today? Before they knew where they were going, so it wasn't a problem."

Opelousas Boys and Girls Club Board Chair, Andrea Dean, said "you are talking about several hundred kids at home-more than likely with older siblings or even by themselves."
It's the first time the club has closed since opening in 2001.

Dean said the organization lost funding from the Opelousas Housing Authority in 2008 and ever since, it's been a struggle to make ends meet.

"When we lost that money, that was a gap," he said. "Our operating budget is 150 thousand dollars annually, so when you lose 50 to 70 thousand dollars for your operational budget it's a big hit."

One of the major reasons these doors will be able to open back up again is because city officials decided to give a larger portion of their budget to the organization. They'll give sixty thousand this next year, instead of the usual twelve thousand.

Dean said raising money will be an ongoing task, but as long as it keeps kids off the streets, she welcomes the challenge.

"We don't ever want to close this club again,"

Dean said. "It was very unforeseen that we had to close the doors on May 17."
Kennerson said, "first of all it shouldn't have been closed, so that's a good feeling that it is going to open."

The program will start up again a week or two after school is back in session.

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