Boys & Girls Club to open in Canton

(Canton, Ohio) –  Starting in January, students in grades 3-5 in Canton City Schools will have the opportunity to become members of a new Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Ohio location at the Arts Academy at Summit.

Students in grades 3-5 who attend the Arts and AIM Academies, Belden, Cedar, Clarendon, Gibbs, Mason, and Youtz Leadership Schools, will be eligible to join the new Club. This will be BGCNEO’s first location in Stark County. Pupils will be bused from their home schools to Arts Academy at Summit, which is located at 1100 10th Street NW in Canton.

The Club will operate from 4-7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, starting Jan. 13. In the coming days, membership applications will be available in the main offices of all the participating schools. Boys & Girls Clubs provide fun, safe places for kids ages 6-18 to go after school, with a focus on academic success, healthy lifestyles, and character development.

Programming at the Canton club will consist of homework help, math and literacy tutoring, STEAM, character and leadership initiatives, healthy habits programs, mentoring, recreation, and sports. In addition, a hot, balanced meal will be served each day by Canton City Schools to all participants. Ron Soeder, BGCNEO’s interim president and CEO, thanked the Canton City School District administrative team and Arts Academy leadership staff for welcoming the new Club. He credited the work of administrators Superintendent Dr. Jeff Graham, Assistant Superintendent Mallory Floyd and Deidre Stokes-Davis, as well as the Arts Academy building team, led by Principal Jeanie Bowling and Assistant Principal Amber Steele.

Soeder also cited the efforts of the school district’s transportation team, led by Nicole Kiser, who will oversee the busing. Graham was inspired by the impactful work done by Boys & Girls Clubs when he served as superintendent of the Lorain City School District and believes the new club can have the same effect in Canton. “As we’ve engaged our community this year, we’ve heard loud and clear that there is a need for strong programming for our students after school,” said Dr. Graham. “I can’t rave enough about what Boys & Girls Clubs brings to the table, and I appreciate the approach our team is taking to get programming established so that we can grow at an appropriate rate. But most of all, I’m looking forward to seeing our students flourish through this partnership.” Soeder said, “We are so excited to be able to serve the families of Canton. Kids are most at risk during the hours right after school, and that’s when we will be providing the kinds of opportunities youth need to thrive and succeed. Fifty-four percent of our alumni say the Clubs saved their lives.”

The school district will be hiring in order to launch the new afterschool program. Employment applications are available at the administrative offices, 305 McKinley Ave. NW, Canton, OH 44702, or on the district’s website, ccsdistrict.org.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Ohio was formed by the July merger of clubs in Cleveland, Akron, Lorain County, and Sandusky. BGCNEO currently has 37 sites and 8,550 members in four counties. For information, call Chad Heileman at 440-787-9538

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