Boys and Girls Club opens in Montevallo

Published 2:48 pm Thursday, June 11, 2009

Eleven-year-old Madison Jacobs had the duty of leading a tour of the new Montevallo Boys and Girls Club Wednesday.

Jacobs directed visitors to the lockers where she stores her belongings for the day. Then it was on to the vibrant wall quilt designed during arts and crafts time, and then the game room furnished with Nintendo Wiis and foosball tables.

Jacobs pointed to the pictures of staff members that covered the walls, and stopped when she came across pictures of her and others playing outdoor games.

“That’s me playing kickball,” she exclaimed.

Since June 1, Jacobs and 61 other children have come to the Montevallo Boys and Girls Club – the first in Shelby County – to learn, grow, and most importantly, have fun. A grand opening and ribbon–cutting ceremony was held at the Orr Park Recreation Building, where the club is housed.

Jacobs, an upcoming sixth-grader at Calera Middle School, said the club represents “a great community coming together.”

“The first day I came here I didn’t have any friends, but now I have so many friends,” she said. “We all support each other when we fall.”

As a treat for visitors, Jacobs and other club members performed the song “We’re All in This Together” from the movie “High School Musical.” Visitors clapped along as the children belted out the lyrics – “Together, together, together everyone/together, together, come on let’s have some fun.”

Freda Shivers, head of the city steering committee responsible for inviting the Boys and Girls Club to Montevallo, said public response has been overwhelming. During registration day April 25, parents lined up outside Parnell Memorial Library to sign-up. Now the club keeps a waiting list that is growing longer by the day.

“It’s just been amazing,” Shivers said. “The kids are awesome and they try everything with enthusiasm.”

Shivers said club members participate in activities ranging from decision making and role playing to tutoring, which is held next door at the Grady R. Parker Senior Center. Both the recreation building and the senior center were donated to the club by the city of Montevallo.

On Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, club members head to the indoor pool at the McChesney Student Activity Center on the University of Montevallo campus.

“We really appreciate the university opening the pool to us,” Shivers said. “One of the children said to me, ‘Miss Freda, I’ve never been to a pool in a house before.’”

The club’s summer program ends Aug. 12. Shivers would like to coordinate an after-school program this fall, but it all depends on funding.

The Boys and Girls Club is open Monday-Friday from 7 a.m.-6 p.m. For more information, call 307-8336.