Ketter: Reopening Boys and Girls Club would help Homer

I am unsure which topic I wanted to address in this column because I am passionate about many topics.

I am concerned about our community. I want to see more togetherness, especially concerning real life issues that directly affect the people. Issues such as financial problems and drug addiction, both of which cause some major problems within families and their homes.

We need to stop turning a blind eye to the real problems within our community. Rather let’s address and even prevent some of these problems by taking action. Instead of constantly focusing on tourism and trying so hard to ban cannabis (which would greatly benefit our economy), we should possibly reopen our Boys and Girls Club in Homer with some of the proposed funds that were going to build the police station.

The Boys and Girls Club was a blessing in our community. From my understanding it was funded by a grant and closed its doors once the grant ran out. I made a phone call and spoke to a gentleman named Eric, who is an employee at the Boys and Girls Club of the Kenai Peninsula. I gained a lot of insight from this call and actually drilled Eric with numerous questions regarding Homer’s club.

According to his understanding, the club closed its doors due to a funding and space issue. It’s apparent there was a funding issue if it was originally funded by a grant because once that grant was up we had to figure out the funding to keep the doors open. While researching further, I read several articles from people and parents within our community who desperately wanted to save the Boys and Girls Club. The building was owned by the Kenai Peninsula Borough and given to Homer for $1. I’m assuming the gift or cheap sales cost was because of the building being used for the Boys and Girls Club.

The Boys and Girls Club of the Kenai Peninsula includes a clubhouse and teen center in Soldotna, Kenai, Nikiski, and Seward. Most popular is the afterschool program held at the clubhouses. Children from elementary school to age 13 occupy the clubhouse. Afterwards they occupy the teen center, which includes ages 13-18. These clubhouses and teen centers have been wonderful in the communities where they are located.

Our Boys and Girls Club was wonderful and beneficial for the families within in our community, as well as just the community as a whole. I feel we all need to pull together and reopen the doors of the Boys and Girls Club of Homer. We need to keep our children off the streets and provide them with healthy structure. Our children can develop good social skills and healthy relationships with others. This will help prevent our children from turning to things such as drugs. Not to mention the low costs, which was helpful to the parents in our community. If we succeed in reopening the club, the Boys and Girls Club of the Kenai Peninsula is more than willing to be involved. While speaking with Eric regarding the closure of our club he stated, “The entire situation was unfortunate.”