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Jeremy Deming, chief professional officer for the Boys and Girls Club Delta Region.
Staff Writer

   The Grenada Boys and Girls Club must become financially self-sustaining or some 200 children are in danger of losing their structured, after-school environment, club officials said Monday.
   Concerned citizens, along with city and county officials, plan an emergency meeting for Aug. 15 at 11 a.m., at the club building on Line St. to develop a money-raising strategy.
   Jeremy Deming, chief professional officer at Boys & Girls Clubs of the Mississippi Delta, along with Clyde McGuire, regional service director for Boys and Girls Club of America Southeast, delivered sobering news to those gathered at the club.
   “This club is $104,000 in the red, and the organization is hesitant to put money into it,” said Deming. Other clubs in the Delta region have been supplementing the Grenada club with their surplus revenue from fund-raisers, according to Deming.
   The Grenada club’s operating budget is around $93,000 per year, Deming said, and it’s been in the red for some time.
   The choice for Grenada is simple, according to McGuire.
   “The benefits of having a youth-building organization like the Boys and Girls Club in your city speak for themselves,” said McGuire. “Teen pregnancy, teen crime rate and juvenile delinquency in general decrease when there’s an affordable, structured program like this in place. The bottom line is that Boys and Girls Club members stay away from drugs and crime,” said McGuire.  
   “From an organizational standpoint, we can’t ask the Boys and Girls Club to put money into something that might not be open in two months,” McGuire said. “The question we have to ask, in Grenada, is, ‘are we willing to do something about this?’”  
   A tearful Judy DeHart, chairperson of the Grenada Boys and Girls Club board, showed those gathered a handful of dollar bills that her grandchildren raised selling lemonade. They wanted the club to have it, she said, because they knew it was so important to their grandmother.

For the full story, see the printed edition or the online edition of the GrenadaStar.

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