Clubs Staying Open Later Is Good News For Teens, Community

What happens when teenagers have nothing to do and nowhere to go? Often times it can lead to trouble. A new program at the Boys and Girls Club in Omaha is aimed at giving teens a safe place to hang out evenings and weekends.

Eighteen-year-old Sylvia Smith'gatson is looking forward to spending some more time in the gym at the Boys and Girls Club where a new program simply called “The Club” will be held at both the north Omaha and south Omaha club locations, giving teens a place to go and have fun later into the night. “It will also help with, get the teens off the street for less killings and violence that we have," said Smith'gatson.

“Right now, if you talk to our teens, there's really nowhere to go and the only place to go after eight o'clock at night is the streets, so we're trying to prevent that and give the teens a place to go,” said Boys and Girls Club President Ivan Gilreath.

The Boys and Girls Clubs already provide a place for any school-age kid to come after school to learn and grow and play, but the clubs have always closed at 8 p.m., which isn't late enough for some teens.

“A lot of them have sports ‘til later, so allowing the opportunity to be open ‘til 10 as opposed to eight, I can actually go there instead of just for an hour,” said South Omaha Boys and Girls Club Late Night Director Courtney Comfort.

On Friday and Saturday nights, The Club will stay open until midnight, providing a hot meal and opportunities to do all kinds of things like use computers, art, photography and electronics as well as play games or just hang out.

“It's really going to be a place where the athlete can come, the scholar can come, the kid who just has a hobby can come, the kid who just wants to hang out and play video games can come,” said Gilreath.

Or any teen simply just looking for something to do. “I can come and work on my game more, a little basketball,” said Smith’gaston.

The teen program will run every Tuesday through Thursday nights until 10 p.m. and ‘til midnight Fridays and Saturdays. The grand opening event will be held 7 p.m. next Saturday, March 23rd at the 26th and Hamilton location.

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