Every year, the Boys & Girls Club of Hernando County, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, opens it doors to over 1,300 children to provide a safe haven during out-of-school time and over the summer.
In order to provide a variety of educational enrichment activities, including field trips and fun in a positive environment while learning new skills, the organization uses three donated school buses to transport students to and fro.
“From the arts and reading to cooking lessons, our 8 area clubs have something to offer to everyone but not without the use of the buses,” said Brian McNamee, Area Director of the Boys & Girls Club of Hernando County located at 5404 Applegate Drive in Spring Hill.
McNamee, who has been with the Boys & Girls Club for more than 4 years, explained that their three aging buses need extra repairs beyond their normal budgeted maintenance and because the club has suffered funding cuts for the past two years, the club is seeking extra donations.
“We have three buses — 321, 348 and 349. They are all getting up there in years and need a little extra special care and attention this year,” said McNamee. “Our mechanics company, Redline Diesel Ingenuity, LLC of Spring Hill assessed the needed repairs at $6,500,” he said.
The repairs required include new alternators and starters, batteries, brakes and drums, servicing and replacement of an air conditioner.
“Replacing the air conditioning may seem like a luxury but, in Florida, it’s considered a necessity as the buses get very hot and the children may be in them for a long period of time particularly on field trip days,” said McNamee.
McNamee’s mission is to reach out to the community and get as much funding as possible to help pay the costs for repairs to the buses. So far, tthe club has launched a GoFundMe account at www.gofundme.com/BGCHCSavetheBuses. To date, the account has raised about $800.
But the icing on the cake was a recent check donation from the Rotary Club of Spring Hill.
“It was for $2,740 and has made a significant dent towards the total amount of money we need,” he said. “I was in shock and awe because it was a very happy surprise.”
The Boys & Girls Club of Hernando County has 8 area units. Each unit is located at an Elementary, K-8, or Middle School in Hernando County and is named after that school. Visit http://bgchernando.org where membership and scholarship application forms are available.
“Weekly fees throughout the summer can be too much for a lot of families,” said McNamee, “particularly if they have several school-age children. My 5-year goal is to get enough funding so that we can give more scholarships to every family that need them,” he said.
Other ways the club gets extra funding is to hold regular fundraiser events at all our locations like cookie sales, Yankee Candle sales for example.
“They do such wonderful things for the children of our county,” said Mike Prescott, President Elect of the Rotary Club of Spring Hill.
“They are facing a tough time with the repair of their donated buses on which they depend so much.”
“In my previous employment, I was a substitute teacher but I discovered my best fit is in mentoring children,” said McNamee. “Being at the Boys and Girls Club has changed me,” he said. “I’m passionate about my work here and I breathe for these kids.”
“If I can make a difference just for one kid, it makes me happy,” he said. “It’s important for them to achieve and enjoy every day as a happy day.”
If you would like to make a donation, however small, go to: gofundme.com/BGCHCSavetheBuses; email: [email protected]; send a check by mail or in person to Boys & Girls Club of Hernando County, Inc., 5404 Applegate Dr., Spring Hill, FL 34606. Visit bgchernando.org or phone: (352) 666-0068.
About the Boys & Girls Clubs
Boys & Girls Clubs help millions of kids and teens develop essential skills, make lasting connections and have fun. Club members experience a safe place to learn, play and grow; supportive relationships with caring mentors and enriching programs, experiences and activities.
The Boys & Girls Club of Hernando County 2018 Summer Camp runs from June 4 through August 10, closed July 4, and held at the Westside Unit in Spring Hill and the West Hernando and Moton Units in Brooksville. For full details of registration, weekly fees, scholarship awards and availability, visit http://bgchernando.org.