Friday, August 26, 2016

Boys & Girls Club Has A New Location

Just this month an elected official said, "The reality is, our young people have nothing to do."

The Boys & Girls Club of Union County might beg to differ.

The Plainfield club held an open house Thursday at its new location and the young people themselves were its best advertisement. Zaire, 17, said he has been a member for four years and the club is where, he said, he learned "to present myself in a very respectful and intelligent way."
He is an Emergency Medical Responder with the Plainfield Rescue Squad and plans to have  a career in law enforcement and communications.

Lord, 16, said he got into the club by accident, but has since learned public speaking and now feels confident speaking before a large crowd of people.

"I give a lot of time being here," he said, including his birthday and Thanksgiving.

He is also aiming for a career in law enforcement.

Club members are not just part of the local club, they have opportunities to take part in national gatherings and to receive recognition for their accomplishments on many levels as well.
Lisa Sepetjian, director of Development & Marketing, said club members' successes are recognized at "Youth of the Year" dinners for elementary, middle school and high school students. Partial scholarships are awarded and the recognition is a "great honor" when applying to college, she said.
The club serves young people from age 5 to 18. When they arrive after school, homework is the first order of business, with tutoring as needed. The club has a computer lab funded by a grant from Comcast and features "brand-new, touch-screen computers," Sepetjian said. There is also a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) program run by volunteers, she said.
DeAndre Hollingsworth,  office manager of the Plainfield club, said teens "feel a sense of belonging" and can attain skills in leadership, community service and civic engagement. He said 2,500 young people from all over the world took part in the clubs' 2016 Keystone Conference in Dallas where they were "treated as leaders" and enjoyed events every evening.

Club member Shaila, 16, said she had fun while gaining leadership skills.

"It forces you to interact with other people, but you end up enjoying yourself," she said.

Sepetjian said teens who have a bad attitude and are disrespectful are asked to leave the club, but one such individual has since become a mentor and is a "Youth of the Year" finalist. She attributed the turnaround to being in a place where a young person feels safe, engaged and respected.

Ron Brangman, Associate Club Director with the Union club, said the Plainfield club has a unique feature in its bike exchange. Bicycles for children of all ages are available. See the link below for Bike Exchange hours.

Brangman said club members can receive help with college applications and tours as well as job preparedness.

The Plainfield club is accepting members. For more information, see the Boys & Girls Club of Union County/Plainfield Club.



  1. Thank you Bernice! We appreciated your visit to our Club and participating in the Open House. You really captured what we are all about! We hope to continue to serve the youth of Plainfield for years to come!


    Erin Duffy (Plainfield Club Director)

  2. Erin, if people want to volunteer to tutor or help with social activities for the kids, who do they contact?

    1. Thanks for the question, we are always in need of volunteers! They can contact the club and speak to myself (Mrs. Erin Duffy) or Mr. DeAndre Hollingsworth. The number to call is (908) 822-8672. There is a volunteer application on our website that they should fill out as well.

      Thank you!