Boys & Girls Club officials celebrate $1 million state allocation

Feb. 4—On Friday afternoon, state legislators from across the region came to Owensboro to celebrate a $1 million allocation lawmakers made to the Cliff Hagan Boys & Girls Club.

Although legislators — including Owensboro and Daviess County Republicans Rep. Suzanne Miles, Rep. DJ Johnson and Sen. Gary Boswell — presented a ceremonial check Friday, officials from the Boys & Girls Club said the money is already being put to use.

Cliff Hagan board president Chris Poynter said, "$1 million is a significant thing for us, and it's going to create more opportunities (for youth) they wouldn't have."

Legislators included $10 million in the state budget for Boys & Girls Clubs across the state. The funds Cliff Hagan received will be spread across the region to benefit its operations in Owensboro, Butler County, Ohio County and Henderson County.

Steve Winkler, the club's CEO, thanked the legislators for "the investment the state is making to the youth in our communities."

The Mike Horn unit has undergone remodeling with the funds, and LED lighting has been installed to reduce energy costs. The Owensboro unit has also purchased equipment with the funds to improve youth technical skills, including equipment for a music studio, a video and podcasting studio, 3-D printers and robotic arm.

"We wanted to make sure our kids are prepared for the next generation," Winkler said.

Other purchases include five vans for the club sites and a generator for the Henderson Boys & Girls Club facility so the building can be used as a storm shelter. Renovations are also being done to the Henderson facility, which is in a former armory.

The funds will strengthen the organization and have an impact on youth while also providing a safe place and programs for at-risk kids, Winkler said.

Miles, who is part of the state House's GOP leadership team, said the funds would help clubs transport children to Boys & Girls Clubs, improve the club's workforce development programs and provide for needed improvements to the Henderson center.

"It's a good investment in our children," she said, "and it's an investment in children who normally don't have access to things."

Winkler said the funds will do a lot for the Cliff Hagan chapter.

"It would take us 50 to 60 grants to make that difference for kids," he said.