School may be out, but kids are still learning

Published On: Mar 26 2013 11:13:00 PM HST

Spring break is over for Hawaii's public school students. They head back to class on Wednesday.

Despite the break, those who spent their time at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Hawaii still got an education.

It was not all just fun and games at the Boys and Girls Club of Hawaii.  Players take their best shot also take turns learning an important lesson of the club.

"We have three priority outcomes areas: academic success, good character and healthy lifestyles. Everything we do, whether the kids know it or not, include one of those components," said Natalie Pawluk, the unit director for the Boys and Girls Club of Hawaii.

What started as a safe haven for kids ages 7-17 in 1976, has turned into a place
for positive learning. There older kids turn into role models for youngsters.

"The little kids look up to me. They always want to be around me. It's a good feeling being wanted," said Chapman Aliksa, a high school senior from Kaimuki.

In addition to playing games, there is also a computer lab and classes. Students can learn about everything from character development to college preparation.

Thousands have participated in programs paid for, in part, by federal funds. While many are struggling because of sequestration, the current budget cuts haven't had much of an impact on the clubs current activities.

"We have state and federal funds, but individual donors are our biggest help because those dollars go as far as possible," said Pawluk.

Just a buck can really make a big difference for the kids. The annual membership cost is the same as it was when the Charles Spalding Clubhouse first opened back in 1976, one dollar.

Pawluk said keeping the membership cost low, allows everyone to participate.
Parents and children agree, it is money well spent.

"My daughter is definitely more social since going to the Boys and Girls Club. They have a lot of programs that are empowering for the children," said Kahaluu parent Trina Orta.

"This is like my second home, I always say that to everyone," said Suzie Park, a student from Washington Middle school.

The clubhouse in Honolulu is normally open Monday through Friday, after school from 2 p.m to 8 p.m.   Sports and music events are also held on Saturdays.  Over the summer, the Boys and Girls Club of Hawaii will have additional programs, which start up in June.


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