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Mayor Shares Leadership Qualities with Students at Oxford Boys & Girls Club

By Caroline Gleason
Hottytoddy.com intern

Oxford Mayor Robyn Tannehill speaks to a member of the Oxford Boys and Girls Club recently during the Lights On Afterschool program. Photo by Caroline Gleason.

As mayor of Oxford, Robyn Tannehill knows a thing or two about being a leader, but more importantly being a leader who is kind to all citizens – from the youngest to the oldest.

On Tuesday, Tannehill visited the L.O.U. Barksdale Clubhouse to speak with the children on the principals of attitude, effort and choices as part of the Lights on Afterschool event. It is a project of Afterschool Alliance, a nationwide event that celebrates after school programs and the important role they play in communities.

“The Oxford Boys & Girls Club is a real passion of mine because they are providing a service to the kids of our community that you can’t find elsewhere, and (it’s) a program that truly changes kids’ lives,” Tannehill said.

She engaged the audience with questions about leadership and character and challenged the children to do their duty of being kind leaders from the classroom to the community.

Launched in October 2000, Lights On Afterschool is the only nationwide event that celebrates after school programs. Afterschool Alliance is a nonprofit organization dedicated to offering programs to ensure all children have access to quality, affordable care. 

The Boys & Girls Club after school program offers tutors, healthy snacks and fun programming intended to teach children life lessons and discover new skills with the help of staff members and volunteers.

Mayor Robyn Tannehill and the staff at the Boys and Girls Club after the event. Photo by Caroline Gleason.

“Kids are the future of our community, and this program being offered after school and during the summer gives children the opportunity to make good choices so they can improve and succeed,” Tannehill said.

The Oxford Boys and Girls Club after school program is home to more children than any other organization in the community, excluding school systems. It is the only program of its kind offered in Lafayette County and one of four located in North Mississippi, according to Zell Long, chief executive officer of the Boys & Girls Club of North Mississippi. On average, 130 to 140 children attend the program daily, ages ranging from six to 18.

“Our mission is to inspire and enable all young people to reach their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens,” Long said.

Unit Director Kenorus Wilson and staff members work each day to make the Boys & Girls Club of North Mississippi a name recognizable to all. Studies show youth without quality after school programs are far more likely to become victims of a violent crime or a subject of alcohol and drug abuse. Students are susceptible to receiving poor grades and dropping out of school. In comparison, Club members have maintained an average 3.1 GPA as a result of their educational and motivational programs, according to their website.

“Academic success is just one of our main focuses. Others include character, leadership and a healthy lifestyle,” Long said. “The kids that attend our various programs are taught these lessons and learn the importance of saying no to peer pressure and living a healthy life.”

The Boys and Girls Club of North Mississippi has locations in Tupelo, New Albany, Ripley, and Oxford. If interested, the cost per semester is $50 per child and $125 for the six- to eight-week summer program. Parents can apply by visiting any Clubhouse location or online.


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