The John Wilson’s Boys and Girls club serves as a haven and source of education for Lubbock kids after school. The organization gives kids the opportunity the make friends and raises awareness for substance abuse and other issues.
Amy Cox, the director of the John Wilson location, said the goal of the non-profit it to lower the juvenile prison system intake. The non-profit keeps idle hands busy and off the streets.
“The reason I love the Boys and Girls Club is the impact you can have on these kids,” she said. “I don’t think everyone realizes that."
Cox encourages Texas Tech students to donate and volunteer at the nonprofit organization, she said. She started off as an intern herself, serving the Boys and Girls Club for over three years.
She was gradually promoted from intern to team director, she said, and then to program directing. The recent opening of the fifth location granted her the opportunity to serve as head director of the John Wilson Club.
One of the biggest misconceptions about the Boys and Girls Club is that the funding, staff and support is evenly distributed amongst the city of Lubbock, Cox said. The John Wilson location has not been as fortunate as some of the other Boys and Girls Clubs.
In April, the J.T. & Margaret Talkington Boys and Girls Club location hosted its ribbon cutting ceremony. The new club will extend the after-school help to a deserving and much needed community, she said. However, with the grand opening, the new site received over half of the John Wilson’s staff and funding.
Donating plays a major role in keeping John Wilson up and running, she said. Parents only pay $10 per child for the entire school year, but to maintain the outstanding discount, the organization relies on donations to support over 160 kids during the academic school year.
Most of the donations the club receives is in crafts and food, Cox said. Every child goes home at the end of night with a hot meal in their belly. However, most kids also depend on crafts as a daily detox and creative outlet.
The biggest impact a person can have by being a member of the John Wilson Club family is building relationships, she said. The kids look forward to seeing the staff every day and telling them about their lives.
Building a relationship with these children will make volunteers want to be continuously part of their lives, and Caitlyn Lozano, a sophomore pre-nursing major at Tech, said she has experienced this bond first hand. Lozano has been a part of the John Wilson family since October 2016.
“I have the opportunity to let them know how smart and kind and strong and funny and important, and that they matter,” she said. “Each moment at the club, I get to be a part of their lives, and that’s what makes me want to come to work every day.”