The Boys and Girls Club of Carbondale, now 15 years old, is growing up.
Last week, the club announced that it is changing its name to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Southern Illinois -- a bid to create a more regional footprint.
Club CEO Tina Carpenter said the club now serves about 1,300 enrolled members. It is hoping to expand its reach to find even more members, as well as more benefactors to help fund its programs.
"More youth are coming more often," Carpenter said.
The club is hoping to raise $15,000 by the end of June. Carpenter said one way to to look at a donation is as "tuition," since it costs about $344 a year to support a youth at the club, and the membership fees themselves are negligible.
"We need scholarship money, if that's one way to look at it," Carpenter said.
Among the speakers at the May 3 event were Stephanie Woods, incoming chair of the club board; Abigail Fields, the club's 2019 Jr. Youth of the Year; and founding board member John Cherry.
Cherry said he was amazed at what the club has become over the past decade and a half.
"I'm literally blown away," Cherry said. "We never dreamed we could touch this many kids. It's just wonderful."
For more on membership or donation opportunities, contact Carpenter at 618-457-8877 ext. 1.