Boys & Girls Club on a mission in Dover

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Greater Dover Boys and Girls Club Executive Director Jake Getty stands in front of the new building along New Burton Road. A grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for June 1. (Delaware State News/Dave Chambers)

DOVER — For Jacob Getty, the mission statement of the Boys & Girls Club is what drew him in.

It reads, “To inspire and enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens.”

In his new leadership role as executive director of the Greater Dover Boys & Girls Club, it is essential in developing the spirit of what will fill the rooms of a new center on New Burton Road.

“We want this to be the most supportive environment we can have to help them reach their potential,” said Mr. Getty. “We want to have the best educational programs we can so that the kids can get help with their homework, with their reading and math skills.”

From the Editor logo copy copyA grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for June 1 for the new Greater Dover Boys & Girls Club center. The public is invited to the event, which will run from 4 to 6 p.m. and include tours.

“The purpose of this event is to show our appreciation to the community and recognition of the people that have contributed to the capital campaign, our annual fund — the people that have given significant time and donations to make this happen,” said Mr. Getty.

In May, the center will be offering public information sessions and tours to families interested in having their children apply for programs.

The programs will start on June 13. They include pre-school (ages 3-4), Summer Fun Club (ages 5-13) and Teen Program. The pre-school and Summer Fun hours will run from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

When school resumes, a before- and after-care program will be run at the club. Teen programs likely will be held on weekends once school is in session, Mr. Getty said.

The club is now accepting applications for pre-school and Summer Fun, he said.

The existing club at Simon’s Circle in Dover will remain open until the new building is ready. The club at Delaware State University will close on April 30 and those children temporarily will relocate to Simon’s Circle.

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The Greater Dover Boys & Girls Club still is reaching out to the community to raise funds for the capital campaign and for the equipment, furniture and more for the five classrooms, teen room and game room.

“We’re trying to outfit the building with all the proper classroom furniture and pre-school furniture that is high quality,” Mr. Getty said. “One group that has risen to the occasion is the Camden-Wyoming Lions Club. They are going to outfit an entire classroom.

“We’re trying to create the best learning environment for these kids in the community,” he said. “We want them to have the very best.”

Mr. Getty said he also is welcoming inquiries about volunteering, including mentoring.

He said he already has had inquiries from volunteers who want to offer sports clinics to introduce soccer and lacrosse to the children who never have had a chance to experience those sports.

Additionally, the Boys & Girls Club likes to have business professionals come in and share their career experiences and how they got to where they are today.

“We want be an all-inclusive, community-based club that really gives every kid an opportunity to learn and grow,” he said. “That includes supporting them with their basic needs, starting at that level, and supporting them at every level. It’s also helping them educationally, and with their well-being and self-esteem.”

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Mr. Getty’s background is in education, holding teacher and administrative roles in the Colonial School District.

He was principal of Harry O. Eisenberg Elementary School in New Castle when it was named a “National Blue Ribbon” school in 2012. The award, which only goes to a few hundred schools nationally each year, is for demonstration of academic excellence and progress in improving student achievement. Eisenberg Elementary has a large population of children considered to be living in poverty. About 90 percent of the students qualified for the free and reduced lunch program.

During his time at Eisenberg, Mr. Getty was working on a doctorate that focused on increasing stakeholder involvement in school.

“It really comes down to everyone letting go of their individualized needs or wants and focusing in on what we can achieve as a group,” he said. “There was a lot of across-different levels questioning what was working and not working.”

“We were honing in on our teamwork. We were focusing in on professional learning community, but we were brainstorming and evaluating student progress on such a regular basis that we were learning from each other and sharing strategies.”

Chances are that many people in the Greater Dover area will be meeting Mr. Getty in coming weeks and they will be hearing about the plans of the new center and its goals and mission.

He wants the community to be a big part of what is being built.

“Our belief is that if you offer good programs that are outstanding, then more people are going to want to be a part of the club,” Mr. Getty said. “That’s how you increase involvement from the community.”

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For more information on the Greater Dover Boys & Girls Club or to apply for programs, www.bgclubs.org/greaterdover.

Reach editor Andrew West at awest@newszap.com

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