Eatonville Boys and Girls Club Bus

Eatonville youth will be able to spend more time at the newly rebuilt Boys & Girls Club of Central Florida-Joe R. Lee Branch, thanks to a 30-passenger bus to be purchased using a $55,379 grant approved by the Winter Park Health Foundation (WPHF) through its Children & Youth Work Group.

“The bus will allow 40 to 50 elementary school stu­dents to spend an addition­al five to 10 hours in the club each week and get a nutritious meal before heading home each night,” said Debbie Watson, WPHF Vice President. This is be­cause the bus will be able to transport them safely home after dark—they won’t have to leave early to walk home while there is daylight. (See adjacent sto­ry on the new Kids Café.

“It also will enable 35 to 40 new secondary school students from Eatonville on the west side of Interstate-4 to participate in Club programs for the first time,” she added. And having safe transportation will mean 30 to 40 teens from all over Eatonville, particularly females, will be able to come to evening teen programs instead of having to leave before it gets too dark to safely walk home.

The bus also will be used to provide trips for pro­grams and activities of­fered by local partners in Maitland and Winter Park, and possibly for college tours.

Ms. Watson stated that most operating expenses for the bus will be covered by a mul­ti-year 21st Century Commu­nity Learning Center grant.

The bus should be in opera­tion in early January. At that time, the Club plans to have a bus christening ceremony to celebrate and make sure the community is aware of the addition. More on this later!

Eatonville’s new Boys & Girls Club facility opened in June 2011. WPHF in 2007 ap­proved a $125,000 grant to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida to support the operating endowment for the Eatonville Branch.