LUMBERTON — During a month when headlines were dominated by politics, the Boys and Girls Club of Lumberton-Robeson County chose to take itself out of the political game and get back to its grassroots.
The Boys and Girls Club of Lumberton-Robeson County partnered with several community organizations in October in hopes of uniting the community, as well as building business partnerships and new members and volunteers.
The club partnered with members of the The University of North Carolina at Pembroke’s men’s basketball team, accompanied by Assistant Coach Eldon Miller, in a basketball court refurbishment project. The team weeded, stenciled and painted the court UNCP black and gold. Members of the club marked “their territory” by painting their hand prints on center court.
The Boys and Girls Club also hosted a fall festival on Oct. 20, which was free to the community.
A special feature at the festival was basketball and cheerleading clinics led by former North Carolina college basketball players and Purnell Swett cheerleaders.
“Our goal at our fall festival was to thank the community for the support they have provided to us for all these years,” said Ron Ross, executive director of the Boys and Girls Club of Lumberton-Robeson County. “It was a pleasure to see both old faces and new faces at our event.”
The Boys and Girls Club of Lumberton-Robeson County is the only club out of 4,700 in the country that charges no program fees. Membership is only $1 and no child is turned away.
Last year, the club served more than 450 children with the understanding that they would maintain good grades, stay in school — the club has a zero percent public school dropout rate — and stay out of trouble with the law.
The club, which is a United Way agency, received donations from Lowe’s of Lumberton, Divine Desserts and Cici’s Pizza, both of Lumberton, Krispy Kreme of Fayetteville, Pepsi-Cola, HanesBrand of Winston-Salem, Trophies R’ Us, Crown Trophy of Winston-Salem, Dollar General of Ogden and FirstHealth of the Carolinas.
To finalize its month-long campaign, the club offered a safe alternative to trick-or-treating on Halloween by passing out candy to more than 50 children.
“It was nice to step back and truly focus on all the children in the community this past month,” Ross said. “We all get wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of things, sometimes we need to step back and remember that these children need us, they are the future, and it is our responsibility to support them.”