Executive Director Traci Newby discusses the impact of the club since its opening in October 2021
By Brooke Spach | Photography by John Michael Simpson
Before the Pittsboro Boys & Girls Club, there were many Chatham County elementary and middle school students going home alone or relying on extended family members for child care before their parents got off work. The club opened its doors in October 2021 with a mission to provide the equitable after-school support these families needed. The club has since grown from 65 to 95 members and proportionally increased staff under the guidance of Executive Director Traci Newby, who’s been with the Pittsboro club from the start. He took on this role after working within Siler City’s Wren Family Center club chapter since 2018.
When students arrive at George Moses Horton Middle School each afternoon, they’re greeted with big smiles, hugs and high-fives from the mentor staff. The students enjoy snack time, play icebreaker games and complete a homework “power hour” before diving into planned activities, covering a different topic each month. These programs range from leadership development to discussions about dealing with bullying. One evergreen focus, though, is the club’s Triple Play program, a nationwide initiative which promotes well-being in the mind, body and soul.
“Our healthy habits program is designed to implement healthy living by emphasizing the good nutrition and regular physical activity that our members need,” Traci says. “We have great relationships with CORA and Porch Briar Chapel, and each month our members are delivered fresh fruit and vegetable boxes with different recipes that they go home and try.”
The Pittsboro chapter currently serves kindergarten through eighth grade students, but Traci says they hope to open the program to high schoolers in 2023. More than offering after-school care and informative programs, the Boys & Girls Club provides a support system for its members. Traci, a Siler City native, was a member himself throughout middle school and later returned as a teen volunteer while attending Jordan-Matthews High School. To this day, he says he still talks to one of his mentors.
“Every child needs someone who they feel is going to be there for them and they can come to,” Traci says. “That was one of the biggest things for me growing up in a Boys & Girls Club, and that’s a big thing with the mental health of our youth today. They know they have somebody that they can express themselves to. We’re all a family, and my members know that.”