Harlan Chamber Hears from Boys and Girls Club

Published 12:02 pm Wednesday, February 16, 2022

The Harlan County Chamber of Commerce heard from a representative of the Cawood Ledford Boys and Girls Club during a recent meeting.

Kateena Haynes, representing the Boys and Girls Club, addressed the organization during the Chamber’s lunchtime meeting, explaining some aspects of the Boys and Girls Club.

Haynes talked about the origins of the Boys and Girls Club in Harlan.

“I’m here today just to give you a little bit of background,” Haynes said. “We started in 2001, we started as Harlan County East Sports, and we started as sports leagues for different kids in Harlan County.”

According to Haynes, this was during the same time Oxycontin abuse became rampant in the region.

“The folks who started the Boys and Girls Club were parents who were trying to get positive activities for kids,” Haynes said. “They saw very quickly that just having sports leagues was not enough for these kids who were coming out every weekend. They needed a facility for kids to go to, something that was constant and permanent.”

Haynes explained other avenues were researched including a YMCA.

“That fell through, so they looked into Boys and Girls Clubs,” Haynes said. “They had a representative from Boys and Girls Clubs of America come down and talk to the group. He saw how enthusiastic everyone was about it.”

Haynes pointed out within a few months, the group had acquired funding, installed a board of directors and had acquired a facility.”

At that point, Boys and Girls Club of America approved the project.

“That’s how it started,” Haynes said. “We had kids every day. We would be closed for the Winter, and still have kids see my car there and they would come up and knock on the door. They’d come in and we’d just hang out.”

The Boys and Girls Club facility in Fairview was completed in 2007.

Haynes said many Boys and Girls Clubs across Kentucky started during the same time period, but did not succeed.

“We started very slowly,” Haynes said. “I think that’s why we’ve been successful.”

Haynes pointed out many clubs opened and closed within five years.

“We’re starting other clubs,” Haynes said. “We have a club at Harlan High School, it’s a 21st century program, and we’re learning a lot about sustainability.”

Haynes said they are able to put Boys and Girls Clubs within a school with the aid of federal grant money.

“The only club we fundraise here for is the Cawood Ledford Boys and Girls Club,” Haynes said. “We would like to get clubs in all the schools.”
Haynes explained the organization provides children with drug prevention programs, instruction on money management skills and other useful programs.

“Every day when they come to the Boys and Girls Club, we feed them a meal so we know they are getting their nutritional needs met,” Haynes said. “We help them with their homework…I’ve had staff members go and get prom dresses for kids. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve done homecoming hair and makeup at the club. We just do whatever it takes, and that’s our motto, whatever it takes to help a child succeed.”

Haynes pointed out the Cawood Ledford Boys and Girls Club is open to all children in Harlan County ages 6 and up.

For more information, contact the Cawood Ledford Boys and Girls Club at 606-573-0960 or go to the Cawood Ledford Boys and Girls Club Facebook page.