Florence Boys and Girls Club gets help from out of state volunteers

Boston Group Helps Florence Boys & Girls Club

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - A group of students from Boston College is spending spring break working with the Boy and Girls Club to make upgrades to the Florence facility.

About a dozen Boston College students arrived in town Sunday and have been working around the clock since Tuesday to install new floors.

More importantly, they’re building relationships with the kids, which Executive Director Neal Zimmerman said is the greatest impact.

"You just don't know what kind of impact you're going to have on that person you're spending time with," Zimmerman said.

The facility received renovations 10 years ago. However, the project didn’t include the gym floors that Zimmerman said are about 25 years old.

“So it had really seen its better days, it had not become a safety issue, but we knew within four to five years it was going to be,” he said.

Piece by piece, students continued laying and stomping in the new floor material on Wednesday. Zimmerman said the volunteers have saved the organization $15,000 to $18,000 in installation costs.

“I think they must of worked to about 11 o’clock last night getting the underlayment so they could get going at 10 o’clock this morning,” he said.

The students said every year the college sends 37 groups across the U.S. to volunteer, one stop being in the Pee Dee.

“Yes, we put in a few hours of manual labor and help get a few projects done but we come away learning so much more about the community and the people that live here,” said senior Jackie Murphy.

“Part of a child’s development growing up is running around, having fun and we’re providing a safe environment for them to enjoy their lives,” sophomore Steven Palmesi said.

The students are also creating signs representing each school in Florence County School District Three to be put up in the Lake City Boys and Girls Club.

When they're not working on projects, the students spend time with the kids.

Zimmerman said with extra help from volunteers like Boston College, they’re able to work more with the children and hopefully make a lasting impact he remembers having when he was a part of the club nearly 50 years ago.

“A lot of kids they don’t get that as much as they need just feeling special so folks who volunteer they are worth their weight in gold,” Zimmerman said.

Copyright 2019 WMBF. All rights reserved.