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Boys & Girls Club director gains national recognition

 

Local man hopes to garner support for youth charity startup in Lincolnton

JENNA-LEY HARRISON

Staff Writer

Wounded Warrior Project and college basketball’s Atlantic Coast Conference are set to recognize Lincoln County Boys & Girls Club Unit Director Shaun Newton and three other former military men during Sunday’s live, pre-game coverage of the 2013 championship match in Greensboro.

Newton told the Times-News he joined the Wounded Warrior Project in 2010 and received word on Monday that his submitted biography had been chosen among more than 100 to be read live to the nation.

Because it will be his first time on live or national television, Newton hopes to use the opportunity to further promote the positive work of the local Boys & Girls Club.

“Continue to show our efforts and potentially gain additional support,” he said.

Newton is considered a “service-connected disabled” Marine, an ACC press release said. The particular type of disability includes “an injury or illness that was incurred or aggravated during active military service,” according to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs website.

The five-year military veteran has seen his share of heartache, growing up in an abusive home and fighting for freedom on the front lines, thus prompting him to spearhead a kid-friendly after-school facility in the area.

There was no local Boys & Girls Club in the county when he moved to Lincolnton in 2008, he said.

Since beginning the long journey in July 2011 to establish a Lincolnton unit, Newton has worked tirelessly and passionately on the project, holding fundraisers and meetings with local city and county officials to gain the support of community members. He said he anticipates the organization’s local chapter, officially chartered under the umbrella group of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Gaston, to break ground at Lincolnton’s former Oaklawn School this summer and commence programs at the new facility by the end of the year.

The club currently meets at Hull’s Grove Baptist Church’s North Campus in Lincolnton.

“The Club is coming along great,” Newton said.

However, funding is still needed for the building/renovation project to become a reality. With a financial goal of $50,000, the Club has currently raised $407, according to piryx.com, the organization’s donor website.

“The need is now, for our children,” Newton said.

He noted that nearly a quarter of the more than 80,000 people that comprise Lincoln County’s population are in the 0-18 age range.

“Boys & Girls Clubs just want to give the youth stability and accountability, which is part of having a great foundation,” he said.

“Children strive for more when they know someone is expecting them to do well. We want to work with the other nonprofit organizations, law enforcement agencies and school system to right the gap of educating our young people by attempting to give them a solid foundation and responsible, caring adults.”

The 2013 ACC Championship game will air 1 p.m. Sunday on CBS.

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