Last updated: August 25. 2013 8:57AM - 158 Views

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LIMA — There can never be enough places where children are safe, learning and growing.A group of volunteers in the city is trying to restart one such dormant place: a Boys and Girls Club.Members formed a board that is working with the Midwest Region of Boys and Girls Clubs of America to bring back the group. Just before school let out for the summer, the group had its first community event at Lima West Middle School. The group wants to be organized in time to begin meeting regularly, hopefully through a school, by the fall, Steering Committee Chair Maria-Elena Williams said.Members are building community partnerships and looking to their next public event, a back-to-school block party.“What we want to do is build up our youth. The kids are ready for it. They’re eager. They call and want to know when the next fundraiser, the next event is,” Williams said. “We also hope to have a youth board. This is for them. They should have input.”A club previously existed in Lima and was housed in the Eighth Street building that now is home to Health Partners of Western Ohio and run by the Salvation Army. Williams is a Health Partners board member and she is using those connections to boost the club.Williams said the group is finding out whether that charter still exists and can be reactivated, or if members have to start from scratch. Either way, re-establishing a chapter in the city is a tall order. It is looking at working with Lima schools to locate clubs in school buildings after school, as 1,400 clubs across the country do now.They are also working to re-establish the proper nonprofit tax status so donors have faith in their contributions. No. 1 on the wish list is a building, a permanent place to meet and serve children.“On the national level, you see so many affected youth and we definitely want to make that impact here,” Williams said.For information about the club, email willi2mr@mail.uc.edu, write to P.O. Box 973, Lima, OH, 45802, or find members on Facebook on the Lima Boys and Girls Club of America page at http://on.fb.me/kiOqAn.You can comment on this story at www.limaohio.com.

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