Burgess aims to expand HYC membership
Beverly Burgess’s ambitions for Heights Youth Club (HYC) are straightforward: Reach more of the youth of Cleveland Heights, University Heights and South Euclid with the after-school programming she has been overseeing as the club’s director since November.
Burgess, who joined HYC as assistant director in February 2016, said that the club currently has about 200 members. The sign-up fee, posted on a recruitment sign on the club's front door, is just $10. Another sign on the door makes clear that the first order of business when a young person arrives at the club on a Monday through Friday afternoon is to do his or her homework for the day, and then move on to more fun activities. On the last day of February, those activities included a poetry slam honoring Black History Month.
The independent nonprofit Heights Youth Club launched the club some years ago and still owns the building, a former church, at the corner of Washington Boulevard and Lee Road. All HYC programming, however, is now run by the Boys and Girls Clubs of Cleveland (BGCC).
Volunteers help supplement the staff of three full-time and seven part-time employees. Asked what the general public could do to help, Burgess said that she was particularly interested in business owners coming in to talk about their success, to spread the message of entrepreneurship. Other areas of programming that volunteers could help with include any art, music or other skills that they would enjoy teaching.
Those interested in volunteering should e-mail Cindy Newton at the BGCC office, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Heights Youth Club (216-321-2582) is located at 2065 Lee Road. The BGCC website provides information about joining HYC: http://www.clevekids.org/find-a-club/join-a-club/.
Mike McGraw has lived near Coventry since 1999. His writing on local issues of poverty and homelessness has appeared in the Cleveland Street Chronicle.