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Local afterschool program expanding

Many area families in need are doing better thanks to an affordable after school program.

Dozens of area children have a place to go after school thanks to a revitalized Amarillo's Maverick Boys & Girls club. This non-profit organization was on the verge of closing a few years ago, but is now expanding.

Kimber Daniel is the Interim Executive Director. She says, "The Mavericks really turned around. We've had wonderful community support. Our members and our parents have really stepped in and helped us. The grants from our local foundations and agencies."

Annabell Gonzalez is a single mom of three who's been living in Amarillo and has had her children at this after school program since September of last year. She says, "It's hard for me to work and find a place to take my kids and know that they're going to be ok."

Representatives tell us they're currently serving around 175 children everyday compared to about 125 before. Program Coordinator Alise Craig says, "We can make sure that we're helping them with their homework. We have partnered with Sylvan learning center. So there is a group of our kids that get to participate in, right now, math tutoring." Gonzalez says, "This place has helped her a lot (her daughter). She's growing to be more independent, more caring. She's learned how to give back to the community. She's involved and enrolled in everything that she can, and my boys as well."

Thanks to a partnership with Payless ShoeSource, about 70 area children were able to get a new pair of shoes; Some of which were given out Thursday for free.

Gonzalez says, "They were like "Look! We got new shoes. And we got to pick our own shoes. And I was like ok. I mean, they were excited and thankful. I mean, one of my boys as soon as he got them he put them on. And he's not taken them off ever since."

The club is focusing on building membership and retaining kids throughout the teen years so they can make a greater impact on their lives.

Jessica Abuchaibe, NewsChannel 10.

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