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Keeping doors and minds open at the Boys and Girls Club of Harrisburg

Updated: Monday, October 28 2013, 08:23 AM CDT
Reported by: Sherry Christian

Prison or the cemetery, that's what a Dauphin county woman says would happen to kids if the Boys & Girls Club of Harrisburg wasn't around.

Yvonne Hollins, Executive Director of the organization is making a difference in the lives of kids by keeping the doors and their minds open.  "We have been able to bring about many, many changes to this neighborhood that serves as a beacon for the city.  This is happening here, we are demonstrating that this can happen throughout the city."

What "this" is, is a place where kids, ages 6 to 18, are motivated to do homework, to read and where graduation isn't an option, it's a must.

They get breakfast and other meals and for some it's the only meal they get each day.

They also learn a trade, through the industrial arts program

They learn the importance of teamwork,  through games they play inside and outside on the Mark and Betty Butler baseball field, one of only 50 fields being built throughout the country.  This field is the first in Pennsylvania.
But so much more is going on inside the Boys and Girls Club, thanks to Hollins.

When she was hired 5 years ago, the organization was on the verge of closing for good.
 So, what would happen if the Boys and Girls Club wasn't around?  "If the Boys and Girls Club didn't exist, I always say there are two situations, prison or cemetery.  Our children would be lost if the doors of this particular building and the Boys & Girls Club were to close.  We would be losing the 1, 274 children that we serve on an annual basis." Hollins said.

But she just couldn't let that happen, especially since she says she's one of those children.  A product of the projects she says, who went on to graduate and get two master's degrees.

Not only has she kept the doors open, but when she knocks on the doors of local businesses they open as well, providing furniture, equipment, food and support, support many of these kids don't get at their homes.

"Many of our children at the end of the day do not want to go home, because it's not home like you and I understand it to be.  This is their home away from home and we provide stuff you and I take for granted."  Hollins said.

 You can help the boys and girls club of Harrisburg make a difference by donating to the United Way or directly to the Boys & Girls Club.

You can specifically choose the Boys & Girls Club when you donate.

Click these links to help:
Keeping doors and minds open at the Boys and Girls Club of Harrisburg

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