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LONG BEACH : After-School Program Starts at Franklin

January 27, 1994

An after-school program for area youth, operated by the Boys and Girls Club of Long Beach, has started at Benjamin Franklin Middle School, 540 Cerritos Ave.

Children ages 7 to 17 can join the club for a $10 yearly membership fee, and participate in organized sports, games, arts and crafts, supervised homework sessions and many other activities from 3 to 8 p.m. weekdays, said operations director Randy Rutledge. The club also has a computer lab and weight room.

The club opened Jan. 7. About 110 youngsters attend daily, Rutledge said. Volunteers supervise and teach the various activities, which include cooking and sewing classes, weight training and karate.

Franklin school Principal Melvin R. Collins said the program is the only one in the area surrounding the school that "can take kids out of the neighborhood and off the street, giving them something to do in a positive sense." The club also accepts payments of as little 50 cents a week if families cannot afford the membership fee up front.

The Boys and Girls Club operates five similar programs in the city, serving about 3,500 youngsters.

The Franklin club is expected to cost about $175,000 a year, officials said. Funding for the first two years has been collected through donations from individuals, community groups and public and private businesses, spokeswoman Helene Belisle said.

The Boys and Girls Club is seeking volunteers to serve as tutors, coaches, and arts and crafts instructors at Franklin. Information: (310) 432-4751.

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