Boys and Girls Club Hosts After-School Program

| June 1, 2012 | 0 Comments
Boys club boys

BOYS enjoy a board game.

Girls Club Girls

GIRLS AT the computers.

Club Director Melba Culpepper

DIRECTOR Melba Culpepper holds her award.

Instead of spending the afternoon home alone when school ends, Laura participates in a full gamut of activities from 2 to 7 p.m. at the Boys & Girls Club of Hollywood. She is one of 130 children who visit the two-story building. At 850 N. Cahuenga Blvd., you also may find a group of boys playing soccer in the gym, girls and boys at the computers, teens playing pool and ping pong, art and music classes and tutors helping with homework.

Children, ages six to 17, are welcome to the club, said Melba Culpepper, executive director. A five-year veteran at the non-profit agency, she recently won a national Youth Service Award for her work at the organization. She is inspired by the growth in the children she sees. ‘One of our students learned to speak English here,’ she recalls. ‘Our staff spent extra time with her so she could become proficient.’

Culpepper is also proud of the attention the special needs children receive. “We let them achieve the fine line between supervision and independence. We also run after-school programs at Van Ness and West Hollywood elementary schools, using their computers, and we teach fitness in addition to providing snacks,” she added.

It was 75 years ago that Maria Gilmore (wife of the founder of the Original Farmers Market) opened a Boys Club at the Assistance League of Southern California.

Hoping to attract 10 to 15 boys, some 60 children joined the club that first year. Girls were welcomed into the club in 1986, and, after many moves, the club relocated to its 22,000 square foot building in 1998, thanks to the generosity of Robert and Margie Petersen, who also donated the Petersen Automotive Museum.

A Texas Hold ‘Em tournament will raise funds for the Hollywood Boys & Girls Club on Fri., May 18 at the club’s neighbor, Red Studios, 846 N. Cahuenga Blvd.

For information, call Julie Hite at 323-467-2007.

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