Maui Boys & Girls Clubs go to school

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Maui took its first steps into a school instead of a standalone clubhouse in South Maui on Tuesday.

The Kihei Dolphins Club, the BGCM’s first club-in-school clubhouse, opened at Kihei Elementary School for students in the 3rd, 4th and 5th grades. The program provides after-school activities for youths until 5:30 p.m. on school days, a BGCM news release said.

An all-day program will be provided during the summer at Kihei Elementary and next door at Lokelani Intermediate. The summer programs will run from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

BGCM has begun accepting members for the in-school program — which is free. The new site is sponsored by a three-year state Department of Education 21st Century Community Learning Center grant. The grant allots $310,937 for the first year, said Linda Gilbertson, BGCM development specialist.

The grant requires no membership fees; at other clubhouses, the cost is $5 per member or $10 per family, said Gilbertson.

While this is the first club-in-school for BGCM, in-school programs can be found in other Boys & Girls Club of America programs, the news release said. BGCM has six standalone clubhouses in Central Maui, Lahaina, Haiku, Makawao, Paukukalo and Kahekili Terrace.

Currently, one large room at Kihei Elementary will be used, but the program expects to expand to other rooms as needed, Gilbertson said. The program also will be using the school grounds for outdoor activities.

Programs offered include homework assistance; tutoring; science, technology, engineering and math-based activities; health and fitness programming; and leadership development training.

The programs will align with the school’s curriculum to provide a cohesive learning environment for members, the news release said.

The Kihei Elementary program is the first time BGCM has had a presence in the Kihei area, the news release said.

“We are very excited to be able to open a club in Kihei,” said Kelly Pearson, BGCM’s chief executive officer. “We have a very strong leadership team for this project.”

Stephen Bennett will serve as director of operations; Malik Bell, director of education; and Kapono Naeole, Kihei Dolphins club project director.

They will be working closely with Kihei Elementary School Vice Principal Sue Forbes and Principal Halle Maxwell “to create a great club environment for the students,” said Pearson.

For more information, call 242-4363, ext. 228. or visit www.BGCMaui.org.

* Lee Imada can be reached at leeimada@mauinews.com

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