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Arkansas community members working to reopen Boys & Girls Club

For those in the South End community, it's been a tough two-years without the Thrasher Boys & Girls Club. Many showed up Saturday to prep the club for its reopening.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — It's been more than two years, but the South End community will finally have an iconic piece of the area back open soon.

The Thrasher Boys and Girls Club is set to reopen next month, which is something volunteers like Donna Massey are excited to see.

"This is an investment in our community. We're trying to save our community, Thrasher Boys and Girls Club has been a staple in this community for years," she said. "Many events that we intend to have just to take our community back to invest in our community."

The memories that Massey has are still fresh – her son played sports at this Boys & Girls Club years ago, and that impact is what made seeing the club closed hurt.

"We have children in this community. They deserve an opportunity, they deserve a chance," Massey said. "So I was enraged and very concerned to find out this had to be closed."

It's why she, along with roughly 100 others, came out to the club Saturday. 

The group spent the afternoon cleaning it and getting it ready for it's reopening.

"I mean we need community programs like the boys club," Kobi Knight, a volunteer, said. "To see all these people show up to support this boys club, it's amazing to me."

Knight also spent time at the club as a child. He's here for the same reasons as Massey. 

He said this kids a place to go and a way to occupy their attention after school.

"This just shows you there's still people, and this community still has hope. This shows it," Knight said.

For the ones who have been around to see generations of kids come and go, this is more than just a local Boys and Girls Club-- it's an opportunity to curb youth violence before it starts.

"We have nothing out here to take their time," Ed Johnson, a volunteer, said. "They get off school, they get in the wrong groups. The wrong groups lead to violence and problems. This center will help us, we need this center."

So as cleanup continues, Massey said there's still work that needs to be done. 

She said the cleanup isn't just about the building itself– it's the message behind what they're doing that's most important.

"I'm just excited to know that we're fighting to save this community, this community center," she said. "To give the children of this age and this area an opportunity to succeed, that's what they need and that's what we want."

Also available at Saturday's cleanup were free brake and tail light checks. Massey said that service helps the community avoid any unnecessary traffic stops, and it saves money too.

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