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bgclub300.jpg Submitted by WWAY on Fri, 08/22/2008 - 11:52am.

Some big changes at a local Boys and Girls Club are causing concern among parents and staff. The changes come after the center's board of directors enacted a nepotism policy. The reason for the controversy revolves around the center being family run for years. But, parents and kids who go there say that is what makes it so special. Ten-year-old Anthony Jones said, "Ms. Clark always keeps the club clean, and she always in the summer gives us free lunch and free breakfast." "They let you have lunch, and after school you can do your homework," said 7-year-old Sam Parks. For these kids, the Brigade Boys and Girls Club is not just a place to play and see their friends, it is a home away from home. Now, the board of directors wants to keep the center strictly business. It enacted a new nepotism clause, meaning long time club directors, the Clark family, will not be a part of the center in the future. Parent Debbie Parks said, "With the nepotism clause, it's not just blood related, it actually has to do with any kind of relations at all." Ms. Clark has been a director at the club for 16 years. Her son Derrell has worked there with her for the past seven. Parks' two children attend Brigade. She says the family atmosphere is what makes it so special. "The child is actually treated like an individual and is part of the bigger family," said Parks. Parents have requested a meeting with the board prior to their scheduled one on September 15. The Clark family has to step down by October 18, though no one WWAY spoke to can imagine the Brigade without them. WWAY tried calling the Boys and Girls Club board president to find out why the nepotism policy was put in place. His voice mailbox was full. Some parents are putting together a petition in hopes of reversing the new policy.

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