Hundreds attend fundraising kickoff for Roane Co. Boys & Girls C

Hundreds attend fundraising kickoff for Roane Co. Boys & Girls Club

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"We've been trying to get this off the ground for quite some time. The sky is the limit with what this can do for this community," said Chief Volunteer Officer Mike Dishman of the Boys & Girls Club of Roane County. "We've been trying to get this off the ground for quite some time. The sky is the limit with what this can do for this community," said Chief Volunteer Officer Mike Dishman of the Boys & Girls Club of Roane County.
The 5k is the first step in the fundraising campaign to make the long-awaited club a reality. The 5k is the first step in the fundraising campaign to make the long-awaited club a reality.

By HAYLEY HARMON
6 News Anchor/Reporter

HARRIMAN (WATE) - Fundraising is now officially underway for the Boys & Girls Club of Roane County, set to open in a few months.

The community is coming together to help get the after-school program off the ground.

Hundreds of runners took to the streets of Harriman Monday for The Boys & Girls Club of Roane County 5k Kickoff.

It's the first step in the fundraising campaign to make the long-awaited club a reality.

"We've been trying to get this off the ground for quite some time. The sky is the limit with what this can do for this community," said Chief Volunteer Officer Mike Dishman of the Boys & Girls Club of Roane County. "To have the support of the community shown by the number of people that came out and ran this race, it's enormous for us."

They must raise $150,000 by December for the program's initial budget.

"The more we're able to raise in funds, the more kids we'll be able to reach," said Dishman.

Organizers say the positive environment of a Boys & Girls Club is something Roane County has needed for a long time.

"There's a huge need here for kids. The teachers will tell you the kids need more after-school support," said Dishman.

The after-school program will provide tutoring, character and leadership classes as well as drug and alcohol education.

In the first year, organizers estimate they'll reach at least 800 students.

"At the end of the day, we want less children involved in drugs and alcohol and more children involved in going to college and furthering their education," said Dishman.

Runners taking part in the event say they're excited to help get the program started.

"It gives the boys and girls an opportunity to have an avenue to channel their energy and get help in school," said Brian Austin of Harriman.

"It's a great need. Kids need good mentors to help them with homework after school because we're a society where moms and dads have to work," said Patricia Wilhite of Harriman.

Depending upon how quickly they raise the money needed, this program could be kicked off for Roane County students as early as winter break.

Roane County Schools donated part of Harriman Middle School for the Boys & Girls Club to hold their classes  in.

The 5K Kickoff raised nearly $5000.

Dishman says they'll be reaching out to Roane County businesses and corporations this week, hoping they'll make some donations to the program.

For more information, including how to donate, visit the club's Facebook page.

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