Lights on for Boys & Girls Clubs - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Lights on for Boys and Girls Clubs

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BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

Boys & Girls Clubs across the nation celebrated Lights On Afterschool Thursday. The goal is to promote afterschool care for all students. A block party was held by the Boys and Girls Club East Biloxi location, along with the city of Biloxi.

One Biloxi police officer said, "This what your lungs look like. This is what they look like if you smoke."

That was an example of what the Boys & Girls Clubs across the country promote want to promote: Education.

"They can help you with your homework," said Zakorian Reed, who is a 7th grader at Biloxi Junior High. "If you don't know something, they have a lady here who can teach you math. I take pre-algebra, she helps me with that."

Reed and more than 200 other club members and prospective members took advantage of this year's Lights On Afterschool Celebration. Similar events took place at thousands of other clubs nationwide.

The Biloxi Police Department set up hands on booths to show children what to stay away from. They also took time to show off their special units and educate students on what their job entails.

Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club along the Gulf Coast, David Spinks, said the club is a place where students can come and continue their education after hours, learn social skills and more about healthy living. He said a recent study found only 11 percent of students attend an afterschool program. Spinks believes that's a small number of the students who actually have a safe nurturing place to go.

"Many of those go to empty houses. Their parents are working. And then you have those distracters out there such as gangs that are just waiting on kids," Spinks said.

He believes afterschool programs are the key to a successful future for our youth.

Reed added, "They try and help us stay safe and do the right things and stay positive."

Thursday's block party was held in front of Nichols Elementary School just off Division Street in Biloxi.

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