Boys and Girls Club children open gifts from members of the community

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Christmas arrived early for about 250 Boys and Girls Club members.

That’s because children in the program opened their very own Christmas gifts together. The club adopts the children out to community members, allowing participants to purchase gifts or make donations to allow Boys and Girls Club to shop for that child.

“It is the best day of our whole year,” says Liz Bernard Clark of the Bowling Green Boys and Girls Club.

In October, the group provides forms children can fill out with three Christmas wishes, and they can supply details, such as their clothing size, favorite candy or favorite color, Clark says.

This allows members of the community to choose a gift or make a contribution that can meet that child’s wish.

She added that “this day really puts Christmas and the true spirit of it into perspective, because there’s nothing like seeing the season through the eyes of a child. They have that pure, joyous heart and innocence, and it’s just super special.”

Clark says their board members are great about adopting kinds for the program themselves, and they ask their friends and neighbors to contribute, presenting a domino effect. She says word of mouth and social media help as well.

Boys and Girls Club has been in Bowling Green since 1949, but 2022 is the first year they opened two school day locations in Jennings Creek and Lost River in addition to their club house. Clark says Boys and Girls Club offers a safe space for kids to be when school is out with fun activities.

“We’re just grateful to be a part of this community. Bowling Green is amazing. They always show up and we’re just so appreciative. It’s because of them that we have been able to be in this community for as long as we have. And I hope that that continues for generations to come.”