By Rayne Brown
An after-school program with homework help, snacks and a supervised place to play and make friends — this is the Boys and Girls Club of Waco.
Since 1993, the Tau Alpha Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. has dedicated a couple of hours a week to spend with students at The Boys and Girls Club. The fraternity commits every Friday to helping children.
Other Baylor organizations have pitched in as well. Cynthia Williams, a program coordinator, said fraternities from the Multicultural Greek Council have donated toys for the children and Sigma Iota Alpha Sorority Inc. has started volunteering with the Alphas at The Boys and Girls Club every Friday.
Volunteers are a large part of The Boys and Girls Club and Williams said she always welcomes more. The Alphas invite interested students to gather at 3:30 p.m. Fridays in the Bill Daniel Student Center by Einstein Bros.
“When we come here during the school year, we do our homework,” 12-year-old Zharia Owens said. “Then we get to play and do snack time. In the summer we go on field trips and go swimming and we have snow cones. It’s fun. It’s something to do instead of just going home and being bored all day.”
For the first time this year, parents are charged $10 per week per child. Williams said that many people can’t afford the new cost. The financial dilemma has caused enrollment at The Boys and Girls Club of Waco to drop by about half.
“I used to have 80 to 100 kids, now I have 43, 44, 45,” Williams said. “It made me sad because I love my children.”
Realizing the financial trouble The Boys and Girls Club is facing, the Alphas are doing what they can to help.
Philadelphia senior Jerry Wells, Alpha community service chair, said they have plans to sell T-shirts to raise money and they are looking to partner with Home Depot and Lowe’s for materials to renovate.
They also want to set up scholarships to sponsor kids who want to continue attending The Boys and Girls Club but can’t afford it.
“We just want to do the most where the least is,” Houston junior Chris Allen said. “We just wanted to make a difference and make the most impactful difference.”