By Mason W. Canales

Killeen Daily Herald

Three Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Texas were awarded mentoring grants of about $650,000 from the U.S. Department of Criminal Justice earlier this month.

Lampasas, Copperas Cove and Clements Boys & Girls Clubs received various amounts of funding from the Office of Justice Programs, a branch of the U.S. Department of Justice. The Boys & Girls Club of America was awarded $44 million, which was distributed to its local agencies.

"We are extremely grateful for the grants," said Jon Charles, chief professional officer of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Texas. "These grants will enable us to provide even more positive role models to our members, provide more services for more kids in our community, and motivate community-minded individuals toward our cause, the future of our kids."

The Killeen club was awarded $424,000, the Copperas Cove club was awarded $150,000 and the Lampasas club was awarded $75,000.

Francie Charles, resource development director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Texas, said the grants will add to what the three clubs are already doing.

"We had some wonderful mentoring programs since 2008, and we have good, strong programs," she said.

Funds from these three grants will help mentor children ages 6 to 12, said a news release from the organization.

"We have English and math tutors in Copperas Cove and Lampasas and we will be doing so in Killeen," said Francie Charles, noting the two subjects have commonly been requested by club members.

Other grant-funded mentors will include poets and musicians who will work with children in July; an anti-bullying program, "Operation Respect"; professional photographers and art instructors.

Supplies and training also are supported by the grant.

Francie Charles said Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Texas affiliates serve more than 2,000 children a day, and is the nation's largest provider of after-school programs for military children.

"Whether it is related to these grants or not, we are always looking for mentors," she said. "We do a pretty stringent background check; then we match them with a student who is interested in the same material."

Contact Mason W. Canales at or (254) 501-7474. Follow him on Twitter at KDHCoveEditor.

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