By Marisa Donelan
Sentinel & Enterprise
March 24, 2010
LEOMINSTER — Ever since the Boys & Girls Club of North Central Massachusetts set up shop in the former Julie Country Day School, it’s gotten bigger and better, Fitchburg Mayor Lisa Wong said Tuesday.
Wong joined Leominster Mayor Dean J. Mazzarella and Board of Directors member Sal Napoli for an early kick-off of Boys & Girls Club Month in April, and told the kids they should be proud to be a part of the organization.
“There’s a lot of Boys & Girls Clubs all over the country, and they’re all staffed and run by local people, people that the community knows,” she said.
The Boys & Girls Club of North Central Massachusetts will hold several programs throughout April, including a recognition of the club member of the year, a family day during April Vacation and three “Step Up & Eat Out” nights as fundraisers, Executive Director Donata Martin said.
On April 5, 10 percent of sales at Sean Patrick’s Restaurant in Lunenburg will be donated; on April 6, 20 percent of sales from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the McDonald’s on North Main Street in Leominster will be donated; on April 27, 20 percent of sales from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the McDonald’s on Whalon Street in Fitchburg will be donated.
Leominster resident Ben White, 13, said he especially likes the opportunity to blow off some steam in the gym after school, and said the club is a great way to meet kids he wouldn’t know through school.
“It’s a positive place for kids, it helps you make friends, you get to know a lot of people,” he said. “They have a lot of really great programs.
Leisandra Portlock, 8, of Leominster, learned to crochet at the club and said she likes the different workshops and activities.
“It’s fun, and we have a cool staff,” she said.
Staff member Miasha Morrison, 16, said she’s loved working at the club, because it’s an opportunity to be a leader for younger kids.
“You get to interact with them and build really great relationships,” she said. “It not only gives them something to do, but it makes sure they have a place to go to do homework and get involved.”
Mazzarella credited the late Bruce Lawrence — to whom the club will dedicate a new teen center in May — for being the biggest advocate at the start of the program here.
“There are people in this community who came together and raised money to help this dream come true,” he said.