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Smiles all around

Boost for Boys and Girls Club outdoor classroom

Staff, administration and most importantly clients, were all in a great mood as the Boys and Girls Club of Durham unveiled its outdoor classroom on Sept. 20. (Photo by Chris Jones)

By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express

The Boys and Girls Club of Durham has received a huge boost for its outdoor classroom project.

TD Friends of the Environment Foundation (FEF) has granted the club $7,000 towards the classroom.

Pamela Deveaux, the club’s resource development director, said that “outdoor classroom projects should address the benefits of having one for the school, and how the entire school – and possibly the community – will use this space to take part in environmental learning.”

Some of the programs included will be a junior chef program that will teach children ways that they can eat healthy, environmental activities such as gardening and composting, and a homework and book club which is meant to motivate students’ minds.

Additional programs will include music, arts, and crafts which will encourage creativity, and science classes that will teach students about nature.

“We’re going to use that space to take kids out to play,” says Lisa McNee-Baker, executive director of BGCD.

TD Friends of the Environment Foundation recently presented the Boys and Girls Club of Durham with a $7,000 grant to support an outdoor classroom project at the organization’s Eulalie Avenue location. The classroom hosted a number of programs over the summer. (Photo by Chris Jones)

According to McNee-Baker, over the summer kids were making salsa from ingredients that they grew and growing their own cucumbers and giving them to friends.

However, McNee-Baker admits that they have yet to decide what they’ll be doing during the winter. She thinks that building a fort would be fun for the kids.

Deveaux says that “[BGCD] provides programs to over 1,200 children and youth in the Durham Region.”

She says that they are at 21 different locations from Pickering to all the way to Newcastle.”

Deveaux says the Oshawa location has approximately 100 children in the after-school program, as well as 200 children in the summer, winter and March Break camps.

A child can get involved with the Boys and Girls Club through camps, after school programs and PA Day programs.

Deveaux says that they are always looking for volunteers to serve as mentors, gardeners, and teachers.

The Boys and Girls Club of Durham was founded in 1963. The group has provided recreational and social development programs in Durham ever since.

It has also “grown into one of the region’s most established and effective youth-serving organizations,” reads their website.

The organization aims to provide children ages four to 18 a place that they can belong to and call their own.

TD FEF is a charity that was founded by the TD Bank Group and supports environmental programs, as well as greening communities across Canada.

The outdoor classroom is located at 433 Eulalie Avenue in Oshawa.