The Lincoln County chapter of the Boys & Girls Club could commence operations as soon as August, two years after organization officials said they started working on establishing a local unit.
Lincoln County Unit Director Shaun Newton, currently an employee with the Department of Social Services, was on-hand at the DSS office earlier this month to sign the club’s formal charter.
The long-awaited milestone forged an agreement between the Lincoln County chapter and Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Gaston, who will support and guide its newest unit until it’s established.
Greater Gaston already consists of units in West Gastonia and Bessemer City along with Gaston County’s Bradley Teen Center.
As of July 1, Newton, who works part-time on behalf of the Lincoln County unit, will be promoted to full-time status, using his position to further advance his vision and passion for children by raising funds and networking as much as possible within the community, he said.
With his full-time status, he will also receive a permanent Lincoln County office, however, the exact location has not be determined.
Newton is certainly no stranger to the organization, frequenting a Boys & Girls Club as a child near his home in Brunswick, Ga.
Because of the positive self-esteem and valuable life skills his mentors and other club volunteers instilled in him over the years, he hopes to do the same for local children.
Through a partnership with the county, the local unit has already received a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant from the North Carolina Department of Commerce.
The state grant, together with a possible Timken Foundation grant which the club has also applied for, will be used to renovate the old Oaklawn School building in Lincolnton, the club’s possible future site, Newton said.
Until work is complete on the building, the club will meet at Hull’s Grove Baptist Church’s north campus on Car Farm Road in Lincolnton.
Newton said the club is also working with NASCAR star and Lincoln County resident Kyle Busch. He and his wife Samantha have expressed interest in using the Kyle Busch Foundation to assist with the club’s grounds and play area.
Through the kid-centered organization, Newton hopes to work with as many children as possible and make a lasting impact on their lives.
During the school year, weekday hours of operation will be 3:30-7 p.m. while summer hours will extend from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Although the Lincoln County unit has made significant strides over the last two years, transforming quickly from a dream into a reality, the organization still needs financial donations and volunteers to sustain itself as a nonprofit.
Donations made me made online at bgclincolncounty.org or by mailing funds to 228 Stanford Road in Lincolnton.
For more information on Boys and Girls Club of Lincoln County, call (704) 240-7525 or visit their Facebook page at Boys and Girls Club of Greater Gaston-Lincoln Unit.