For almost 50 years, the Boys and Girls Club of Acadiana has been a safe place for children to go after school.
For the children and teens who go to the club every day, it’s more than an after school activity, it’s a second home.
The Boys and Girls Club serves 5,000 children here in Acadiana every year.
The club provides snacks after school, tutoring, and just a fun place for students to go after school.
And from the outside looking in, that may be all you see.
But for the students who go to the club ,it’s so much more.
Khareem Valliere has been coming to the Jackie Club in Lafayette for the past 6 years.
“Over the years, they’ve created me to be more responsible. Just a better overall man honestly.” saiys Valliere.
He goes to Lafayette High School, plays on the varsity football team and goes to the club almost every day after school.
“I get to come here and chill out with friends, and get help if you need it, like tutoring. There’s a lot of tutoring here. That really does help my schoolwork.” said Valliere. “I was failing in the first quarter of school in math. I came here and the tutoring that was here just to help me escalate my grade. It’s amazing I love all the people here.”
But for Khareem, it’s more than just the touring that makes the Boys and Girls Club what it is.
“Like I’m home, it’s a second home for me. Just seeing everyone I know and love, and that loves me back. Seeing Mr. Joe greet me every day, it’s a good sight to see.” he said.
85% of the students who go to the Boys and Girls Club are economically disadvantaged, but Valliere says for outsiders looking in, that shouldn’t define the club.
“I see it as just a place for kids who are unfortunate or something like that, to just go, but for me I see it as it is another life kind of, if that makes sense.” said Valliere. “It’s another home, just being around the people kind of brings you back. In case stuff is going wrong at home are bad at school you can come here and get yourself back to where you need to be.”
Valliere was only one of the many club members who described the Boys and Girls Club as a second home.