Building With Boys & Girls Clubs

Summer Camp Success Leads To After School Program At Pheasant Run

From a dark, dreary, cool and drizzly mid-week afternoon, the elementary-through high school students of Pheasant Run pop through their Homeport community learning center with a hop in their step and excitement in their voices.

There is structured rambunctiousness as the children from Reynoldsburg flip on laptop computers or open books, their minds still fresh from a day of learning at school.

It is the give and take of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Columbus after school program -- study, focus, but have fun before the apartment complex community center doors close at 7:30 p.m.

“We try to be balanced,” said Anthony Williams, the on-site program leader. “We don’t want to be a drill sergeant. We want them to be comfortable.”

The fun might include a reward of an interactive NBA game. It might be a challenge set forth as they move about, questions written in red highlighter on a white board:

“What does it mean to be a leader – and find a quote about leadership,” the first question says.

“What are your goals and how do you plan on reaching them?” is the second challenge.

The third assignment question: “What are some benefits of practicing forgiveness – and a quote about forgiveness.”

Last summer, in part through a $30,000 grant from the Ohio Capital Impact Corporation’s Resident Development Fund, Homeport contracted Boys & Girls Clubs to provide a summer camp at Pheasant Run.

The program, meant to prevent learning loss in the absence of school, was attended on any given day by as many as 50 children. It was such a hit, Homeport asked Boys & Girls to have an after school program at Pheasant.

Rachel Cohen, an Ohio State University political science student from Dayton who ran the summer program at Pheasant Run, has returned part-time in support of Williams who oversees the program expected to serve at least 50 students. “It is really cool to be back,” she says.

Pheasant Run was the first rental community at Homeport to have Boys & Girls programming. Homeport is discussing with Boys & Girls how to expand its high impact after school programming to other Homeport communities. Sustainable funding would be needed.

 “The Boys & Girls Clubs programs fit beautifully together with Homeport’s mission of creating bright futures for families, breaking the cycle of poverty, and empowering our children with education, inclusion, and subsequently, the foundation of confidence to achieve their dreams,” says Homeport President/CEO Amy Klaben.

Pheasant Run eighth grader Miles Gibson gives the afternoon program a thumbs up.

“I like that I can do my homework. I like being with my friends. I like my teachers,” said Gibson, 14. “They understand our homework and our problems.”

(Individuals or businesses interested in supporting Homeport’s after-school initiatives can do so by contacting Peter Tripp, Director of Donor & Investor Relations, at peter.tripp@homeportohio.org, or 614 545-4853.)