Gov. Brian Kemp announced this week the availability of $15 million in Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) funds to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Georgia to advance student academic achievement by addressing learning recovery and other critical needs of youth brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some of that money will find its way to the Madison-Morgan Boys & Girls Club to beef up its summer initiatives to keep kids on track academically and socially.

“We are excited to put these funds to good use,” said Bob Mackey, president and CEO of the North Central Georgia Boys & Girls Club. “The importance of education remains a top priority. We want our kids to be well-rounded individuals for the 21st century and we are here to help bridge the gap so to speak, since our kids lost so much time this year in the classroom due to COVID-19.”

Mackey is hoping the extra funds will boost the reach of the Boys & Girls Club’s summer programs.

“We want to provide unique educational opportunities to help create the well-roundedness of the youths who attend our program and to keep kids from falling behind in their studies,” said Mackey.

It has not yet been determined how much of the state funds will be allotted to the Madison-Morgan Boys & Girls Club, but Mackey promises it will be put to good use.

“We have some great things planned. We will continue to make up for the learning loss throughout the year as well as promote healthy lifestyles and create opportunities for our youth they would not otherwise have,” said Mackey.

The Madison-Morgan Boys & Girls Club reopened this past Monday to full capacity, ready to engage face to face with all its members, 160 youths in all. Next week, the club will transition into the old middle school, which will open up even more space.

“These funds are coming in at the perfect time with the new transition and the club opening back up to full capacity,” said Mackey. “Lots of good things to come for our kids.”

According to the Governor’s office, “Specifically, $15 million will be awarded to serve 9,000 youth. Sub-awards from the Georgia Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs will be made to local Boys & Girls Clubs on the number of youth served at an average cost of $1,550/child. These funds will be distributed across 34 Boys & Girls Clubs organizations, 141 sites, and 62 counties in Georgia.”

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Georgia have done a remarkable job of serving the needs of youth across the Peach State,” said Governor Kemp. “With this GEER funding, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Georgia will be able to further enhance student academic achievement by addressing educational gaps caused by the pandemic. I look forward to seeing the positive impact this funding has on youth across the State of Georgia.”

According to the Governor’s press release, “The program goals include ensuring 65 percent of youth below grade level will return to grade level by the end of the program term, and 35 percent of youth will show an increase or progress toward grade level achievement. The funding period is between June 2021 through September 2022, inclusive of summer camp, school breaks, and holidays (fall/spring/winter camps); and the after-school program for youth ages 5–18 (K-12), to be served at club sites across the Boys & Girls Clubs in Georgia (at $1,550 cost per child) with targeted academic support. $4 million will go toward the grant kick-off and summer costs for 2021; $7 million will go toward the 2021-2022 school year costs; and $4 million will go toward summer 2022 and the grant closeout.”

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