Boys & Girls Club officials hammer out budget issues

Boys & Girls Club officials hammer out budget issues

PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) - Wednesday was a good day at the Boys & Girls Clubs Qatar Center in Pass Christian.

But it's always a good day for 10-year-old Makayla Causey, who has been in the program since preschool.

"It pretty much has changed my life. They taught me about respect and honesty," said Makayla. "They've taught me so much over the years, like, I feel like this is my home."

Despite positive outcomes of the club, budget problems could fundamentally change that home.

Boys & Girls Clubs of the Gulf Coast executives are trying to solve the organization's $650,000 budget shortfall brought on by a mistake at the Mississippi Department of Education. Recommendations have been submitted by a task force charged with finding ways to overcome the budget problem that likely may extend into 2017.

Even so, none of the recommendations will be easy fixes.

"It was not just a matter of being mad, and blasting out at Jackson and saying they should have done a better job," said Sydney Wall, task force member. "There's still no money. Doesn't matter what you say about that, or you who call. We still had to find a way to fix it."

Wall is also president of the unit board of the Qatar Center in Pass Christian. Everything is on the table: electrical power use, staffing cuts, and even potential reduction in the number of students it serves.

The task force also has started a program called "It Just Takes One" that reaches out to individuals and businesses to sponsor a child with a donation.

"We are pretty sure we can get through this next couple of months with the community's help, but we have to really dig deep as to how we're going to go forward," added Johnson.

Qatar Center unit director Akini Cyrus could be affected, but he chooses not to worry.

"As much as this may be a bump in the road, a rising tide raises all ships," Cyrus said. "As long as we come together as a community, and as a family and as a team, we'll see our way through it."

Wall says the executive committee could make decisions on the task force's recommendations within a couple of weeks.

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