BALTIMORE — The Boys and Girls Club is known for helping kids in the community. This year, because of the pandemic, they had to think a little differently to make sure they could reach everyone who truly needed them.
"We're out here to serve kids that need us the most and we know that hasn’t changed so we had to find a way," said Derek DeWitt, the Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club in Harford and Cecil Counties.
That's how "Club on the Go" was created. A mini bus that can drive into neighborhoods all throughout the two counties, every day after school.
"Since the kids can’t get into our in clubs then we need to get out into the community to them," said Crosby Newbill, the Director of Community Based Programs for the Boys and Girls Club in Harford and Cecil Counties. "We talk to a housing manager and ask if we can come into underserved communities and those that need us most and once we get consent, we're in there."
The kids come running every time they pull up into their neighborhood. All they know is they're having a blast with a bunch of other kids who don't want to be stuck inside but it's much more than that.
"It’s a passion for kids. It’s a safe place for kids. It’s fun and it’s all about making sure they have great opportunities to understand their own great futures," said DeWitt.
They started the bus because they knew they needed to supply food to the kids in these areas and then they started incorporating other things.
"We can do stem on here. We can do healthy habits on here. We can have sports equipment on it. we can put technology it. Really anything you would normally find in a Boys and Girls Club, we can put onto this vehicle and then make it accessible and available to anybody," he said.
They're able to create and expand "Club on the Go" because of funding from the Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention of Maryland. Now, BGC in Harford and Cecil is partnering with Metro Baltimore to help them reach kids in need as well.
"They have to know someone is out here for them and we pride ourselves in our traditional clubs that are already in neighborhoods but to be mobile and come on their turf if you will, it brightens their day... it brightens our day," said Crosby.