Kids said the Boys and Girls Club of the Eastern Panhandle is a safe haven from the streets.
“It’s much easier for a child to never start using drugs than to be rehabilitated,” Stacie Rohn of the Boys and Girls Club of the Eastern Panhandle said.
Members of the boys and girls club keep their heads above water in the midst of the on-going heroin epidemic. Mentors teach children how to develop healthy habits and say no to drugs.
“It’s just so much more important to teach them all the positives in life than to find their way into a negative, like drug use,” Rohn said.
However, all of these educational programs come with a cost. For every new child that joins, staff need to fund $1,000 in their budget.
Just last year, the club was awarded for their efforts in stopping children from using drugs. On Thursday, they asked Berkeley County Council Members to approve a budget of $5,000 to continue that effort.
Council members said investing in prevention will save money in the future, so the council agreed to consider it.
“It saves money and lives, and families,” Doug Copenhaver, president of Berkeley County Council said.
Copenhaver said teaching these children to invest in themselves instead of in heroin brings money back to the community in the long run.
“These people become really active citizens rather than dipping out, off the radar and then coming back on,” Copnehaver said.
The Boys and Girls Club helps more than 1,300 children across the state.