MASSENA Massenas police chief says he believes bringing a Boys and Girls Club to Massena could help reduce crime, increase graduation rates and address a need for youth activities in the community.
Timmy J. Currier, a member of a steering committee thats working to make a Boys and Girls Club a reality, said during a committee meeting Thursday night that theres a misconception in Massena that its a retired community.
He instead said he believes the needs of younger individuals need to be addressed. That, he said, is one of the three main factors driving his efforts to bring a club to Massena.
The data from the 2010 U.S. Census illustrates that less than 17 percent of our community is 65 years and older. The same data shows us that nearly 24 percent of our population is under the age of 18, Mr. Currier said.
He said the community has for years worked to support its seniors and by all means should continue to do so.
But I am interested in focusing on those under 18 and putting some resources toward the population that will impact our future the most, our kids, Mr. Currier said.
Bringing a club to Massena also would do its part to address crime, the police chief said.
Since 1998 we have experienced a 232 percent increase in our serious criminal offenses. We know that implementing early childhood prevention programs like the Boys and Girls Club is a big step in preventing our kids from becoming criminals as adults, he said.
Mr. Currier said after-school hours on school days are the prime time for juvenile crime. But having a Boys and Girls Club could change that.
The chief also suggested that Boys and Girls Clubs could help improve graduation rates, which would go hand in hand with reducing crime.
For its next meeting, the committee intends to research lessons learned in the creation of Boys and Girls Clubs in Ogdensburg and Akwesasne. We can tap their minds and their experiences,consultant William Wolf said.