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Boys & Girls Club Growing
Friday, 29 May 2009

May 29--The Toombs-Montgomery Boys and Girls Club received a jolt of energy and infectious enthusiasm the day Dianne Zimnavoda took the helm as the Chief Volunteer Officer of the non-profit service organization last year.

            ImageZimnavoda, a California transplant who moved her manufacturing company, RCF Technologies, to Vidalia 14 years ago, has mixed her talents of leadership and love of community and children in this role to much success.

            The working mother of six children, all of whom are now grown, will be the first to exclaim “it’s not about me, it’s about the children”, but some praise is due, says Tonjai Woodard, Chief Professional Officer.

            From the beginning, Zimnavoda has infused new life into the club’s board of directors with fresh faces and invigorated the current members with a zest for the club’s mission: “To inspire and enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens.”

            The most remarkable gain for the club in the last year has been the completion of a new building in Lyons to help house the club’s 600 members and 10 employees. The new Lyons club branch “more than doubled our capacity,” said Zimnavoda. The Vidalia location will still be operational.

            Located on East Grady Street, the building opens June 1 for business. Not only was its construction good for the organization, but it was good for the community.

            The building was donated to the organization by a Valdosta company, which received a federal government grant to refurbish the Terry Meeks Apartments. This area was previously known for drug activity and crime. Since the construction began two years ago, “the community has done a 180”, said Woodard, and she’s confident in the continued clean-up of this area.

            With less than a week left in public schools, Woodard is bracing for the beginning of summer outreach programs and is thrilled to know that this new facility will be a paragon for the community’s boys and girls, ages 6 to 18 years old.

            “The opening of the new club could not have a better timing, since it is essential to provide our local youth with opportunities to learn and grow under the supervision of a concerned professional staff during the times school is out. After all, our children are our future and the most valuable assets we have in this community,” said Woodard.

            An open house and grand opening is in the works by the club’s administrator and board. The announcement and invitation to the event will be forthcoming and advertised through the local Chamber of Commerce.

            Zimnavoda is excited about the event and hopes the community will not only attend but also participate in several of the club’s planned fundraisers.

            “One project we are really excited about is our end of the year celebratory banquet,” said Zimnavoda. “We will also host a silent auction of Boys and Girls Club members’ photos and artwork.”

            If you would like to be a part of the club’s board of directors or you would like to find out more information about the programs for your family, contact Tonjai Woodard at (912) 538-8899. The club’s summer hours, 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., begin June 1.

            “There are no societal requirements on family participation,” said Zimnavoda. “Anyone can come. It is open to all. Just $10 a year.”

 
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