Kids react to Bossier non-profit closing

By Brittany Pieper – email

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) –When the economy takes a hit, so do non-profits, and the Salvation Army says that's why it must close the doors at the Boys and Girls club in Bossier City at the end of the summer.

11 year-old Dandre Player has spent a lot of time at the club in Bossier over the past 2 years, and he looks forward to his time there each day.

"We get to play pool and play basketball and football," he said.

Recently, Player found out this will be his last summer there.

"I was upset because they was gonna be shutting it down," said Player.

The Salvation Army operates all of the Boys and Girls Clubs in the Shreveport Bossier area, and says the decision to shut the doors was a tough one.  The Salvation Army had to move more than $140,000 from other programs to fund area Boys and Girls Clubs last year, and they spent $50,000 on the Bossier club alone.

During the summer the club serves about 30 kids each day, but attendance during the school year has dropped to about 10.

"We've looked at different options on how to fund it, and we don't have the money," said Major Mark Smith with the Salvation Army.

While the decision to close the club saddens them, they say there is a silver lining. In August, another free after school care program will open at the middle school next door.

"They are offering very similar services to what we offer. Very similar. So, the kids have an option right here," said Smith.

However, the kids who spend their days at the club, say they'll still miss it.

"It keeps kids motivated and active because they get to run around and talk to their friends and stuff," said Player.

"They're taking it a little hard, but when they assimilate into the program next door I think everything will be fine," said Smith.

The Salvation Army says they are keeping the Bossier Boys and Girls Club's charter because they hope to find a way to fund it and reopen the club in the future.

The Shreveport Boys and Girls Club will remain open.

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