The Boys and Girls Club of St. John’s are holding an Art Supply Drive from January 23rd –29th.

The Boys and Girls Club of St. John’s offers affordable, after school programs for youth in Mundy Pond and Buckmaster’s Circle.

Their ‘open-door policy’ means that no child is turned away because they are unable to pay membership fees. The club serves over 700 kids a year, between the ages of 5 and 17,with the majority of their membership coming from low-income backgrounds.

The Club runs tutoring and homework support, organized sports, and arts and crafts programs, along with many other regular and special events. It also provides kids in the after school program with a healthy snack each afternoon.

In December the provincial government slashed the Club’s budget, cutting 53% of the organization’s provincial grant-based funding for 2016-2017.

To continue offering all their programing the Club had to scramble to find financial support from friends of the Club. Unfortunately, this type of funding is less sustainable than reliable government grants.

“When I found out about the budget cut, it felt like a slap in the face. I’m the Arts and Crafts Coordinator, I work with the kids on a daily basis and I see first hand how these programs help kids grow,” Jessica McDonald said.

Approximately a hundred kids attend the Club’s Arts and Crafts Program every weekday. McDonald explained that the Club gives the kids a safe place to go after school where they can learn new skills, be social and productive.

“The kids really care about these programs and if you take them away, that’s going to hurt them,” McDonald said.

McDonald comes up with a theme for each month and organizes a different arts and crafts activity for the kids every afternoon. January is magic month and yesterday the kids used chopsticks and glue guns to make their own Harry Potter wands.

“It’s important for them to find an interest in something like arts and crafts, it’s therapeutic. It builds their confidence, along with their motor skills and communication skills,” McDonald said.

McDonald hopes The Club will receive a wide variety of supplies for drawing, painting, sculpting and crafting. One item her students will especially appreciate is canvases.

“The kids love canvases, they love painting canvasses so they can take something home with them and put it up on the wall,” McDonald said.

Donating to the Art Supply Drive is one way to show your support for an organization that ensures kids get an opportunity to learn, play and have an afternoon snack regardless of their economic background.

“Every item that’s donated will go directly into the hands of a kid in the program and every donation helps, no matter how small,” McDonald said.

Art supplies can be dropped off at The Boys and Girls Club’s Buckmaster’s Circle location and at the Quidi Vidi Plantation throughout the week of January 23rd to the 29th.

On the final day of the drive, volunteers will pick up donations from anyone who isn’t able to make it to the drop off locations.

A full list of supplies The Club needs and times donations can be dropped off is available here: