Boys & Girls Club
Newnan/Coweta sees 98 percent graduation rate
by Clay Neely
While more than half of the members of the Newnan/Coweta Boys and Girls Club live below the poverty line, their participation in the club has seen a 98 percent success rate of members graduating from high school.
Newnan Business Development director Hasco Craver IV shared that fact while speaking to the Newnan Rotary Club on Friday. Craver touched on the important role the Boys and Girls Club plays in the community and in developing the success of potentially at-risk members.
According to Craver, 90 percent of club members that participate three days a week or more graduate school on time, live healthy lifestyles and give back to their community.
“That’s really something to be proud of,” Craver said. “In this current climate of educational accountability, when you can graduate kids and get them into the workforce and also into post secondary education, that’s something to scream about.”
A former member of the Boys and Girls Club, Craver recalled his experience growing up in Philadelphia.
“The Boys and Girls Club provided a safe and positive environment for myself and my brother,” said Craver. “I could have easily jumped in with the wrong crowd. The Boys and Girls Club played an enormous role in my life.”
In 1996 the Boys and Girls Club opened its doors in Newnan, and in 2002 the club moved into its new facility on Wesley Street. Craver currently serves as a board member for the club and has witnessed firsthand the successful influence that it serves in the community.
Citing the examples of children from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds, Craver praised the resilience of the members.
“What we may see on television is real life here, and many of our members’ personal stories would make you cry,” Craver said. “However, they’re remarkable individuals who have managed to overcome the challenges that life has provided them without any fault of their own.”
By giving a positive place for members who come from difficult backgrounds, 91 percent of the members say that not only do they feel safe but also experience a feeling of high expectations, knowing that there is always an adult present who wants them to do their best.
“They may not have that at home or school,” Craver said. “There is some ownership there.”
One of the most staggering statistics Craver stated was the success rate that members experienced in the improvement of both math and reading skills over a period of a year. Members failing in math dropped from 76 percent to 36 percent, while those who struggled with reading proficiency dropped from a failure rate of 65 percent to 44 percent.
The Newnan/Coweta Boys and Girls Club raises one third of its operating costs locally while the other two-thirds of their costs come from the metro-Atlanta organization.
“The money you donate goes right here in the community,” Craver said. “It’s raised here and it stays here.”
Craver also praised city officials for supporting the Boys and Girls Club through their usage agreement to utilize the gym across the street from their Wesley Street facility. Along with the support of Newnan Utilities, the club does not feel the pressure to pay a mortgage and utility bill each month.
Closing the presentation, Craver cited the need for as many adult volunteers as possible.
“We’re understaffed,” he said. “We need tutors, adult mentors – I know you’re all very busy with life and work – but if we don’t prepare our children for the workforce, we’re letting the community down.”