On the Saturday before Christmas, Khrystal Westeen, the new branch director of the Copperas Cove Boys & Girls Club, helped serve up pancake breakfast at Applebee’s to raise funds for the club.
The Boys & Girls Club provides afterschool care for children ages 6-12, who are transported from elementary campuses across Copperas Cove to Fairview Community Church, which serves as the site for the club.
Presently, the club serves about 120-125 members daily, which does not count the junior high campuses which have their own programs.
Westeen has been branch director since November, but has worked as program director for the Copperas Cove branch for about four years and worked for the Boys & Girls Club for nine years.
She sees fundraising and community exposure as vital to keeping the branch alive and well in the city for children who might otherwise not have an afterschool option.
“Come 2019, I’m getting with our parent committee and our board, and we’re planning to do more fundraising,” said Westeen.
Parents pay an annual fee for the children to join the club, and the club covers the rest of the cost for snacks and programs by things like securing grants, fundraising like the pancake breakfast on Saturday, as well as donations. In 2018, the Copperas Cove city council approved $10,000 in funding for the club, to assist with offsetting the cost of afterschool transportation.
Westeen said there are a number of programs that help the children, with homework and more.
“We have Power Hour, Smart Girls, Passport to Manhood, Smart Moves, Be A Star, and Triple Play,” said Westeen.
The board, which had new members appointed in April 2018, include members Sandor Vegh, Patricia Thomas, Ashley Whitworth, Eric Armstrong, Sharon Woody, with Donna Howard as board president.
Nearly a year ago, the Boys & Girls Club learned that CCISD was not renewing the lease it had with the branch, with the upcoming renovation work to take place at the Fairview/Jewell Elementary campus, which the club had leased the unused Fairview side.
With campus growth, CCISD chose to move forward with renovating the campus to serve more students.
Just prior to school letting out for the summer, the club was offered the use of nearby Fairview Community Church, 208 S. 2nd St., for its programs.
During that time period, Westeen admits she was unsure of the outcome.
“It was very scary, for a moment. I thought, what are we going to do with our 120 kids? What are their families going to do?” Westeen said. “This is a big part of me; this is family to me. So it was sad and heartbreaking, and the church let us in, and we were able to stay open and provide a program for the kids. It’s been amazing.”