Carter County kids program needs help with transportation costs

John Thompson • Dec 19, 2017 at 11:18 PM

ELIZABETHTON — Charitable organizations often resort to emotional appeals to encourage donations during this season of giving.

That’s not the strategy the Boys and Girls Club of Elizabethton/Carter County is taking this month.

The club launched a fund drive this month on the unemotional, nuts-and-bolts cause of providing transportation for its club members.

“Transportation is at the heart of what we do,” said Ginny Wright, executive director of the Boys and Girls Club. She said the club provides after-school services, from homework help to a healthy snack and a warm meal for students from 12 schools in the city and county.

That program only works because club members are transported by a club bus from 11 of the schools to the club. Students from the 12th school, Elizabethton High School, are close enough to the club that they can walk there after school.

Offering transportation helped the club grow. There are now 500 members, and nearly all of them use the club’s buses, either for after-school transportation to the club or for summer field trips or college trips for members getting ready for the next step in their academic careers.

Wright said the annual cost of transportation for the club is $25,000. That includes bus maintenance, fuel costs and paying the drivers. Elizabeth Williams, resource development and marketing director for the club, said it is seeking to raise its 2018 transportation costs during the annual season of giving from now through the end of December.

The fundraising effort is called the “Start the Bus” program. The club promotion said “(b)y getting kids into our club doors, you are giving them a snack and homework help every afternoon. You are giving them friendships and mentors. You are giving them the chance to run and play in the gym and participate in carpetball tournaments. You are giving them healthy, warm dinners. When you start the bus, you are giving kids the chance to meet their full potential.”

The club said all amounts are appreciated. A gift of $1 will provide a child with transportation to school for a whole week.

Donations can be made online at http://www.bgcecc.org/startthebus with Pay Pal. Donations may also be mailed to The Boys and Girls Club, 104 Hudson Drive, Elizabethton, TN 37643. Include the name “Start the Bus” on the memo.

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