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Hackensack Boys/Girls Club Celebrates 5 Years, Looks Ahead

Torch club members participate in icebreaker exercise that teaches trust and reliance. Photo Credit: Boys & Girls Clubs of Lodi/Hackensack
After-school members preparing for Kids College. Photo Credit: Boys & Girls Clubs of Lodi/Hackensack
Angelina Romero catches a party streamer and has to introduce herself at a self-esteem event. Photo Credit: Boys & Girls Clubs of Lodi/Hackensack
Malik Williams holding up his prizes from an Easter Egg Hunt. Photo Credit: Boys & Girls Clubs of Lodi/Hackensack
Vianeyris Tejada wearing pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Day. Photo Credit: Boys & Girls Clubs of Lodi/Hackensack

HACKENSACK, N.J. -- To celebrate five years since it opened its doors in the city, the Boys & Girls Club is hosting a Family Day, Block Party and Carnival this Saturday.

The Sept. 19 event, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., will feature free games, rides and a concert by Hackensack native sons Fillet of Soul at 3:30 p.m. Food will also be sold.

"It takes help. It takes community support," said Joseph J. Licata, the director of Development & Special Projects at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Lodi/Hackensack. "The theory behind the event is to let people know in Hackensack (that) we are trying to make a bigger impact."

Since opening their doors, the club has offered homework help, recreational programs, arts and crafts and, most recently,  Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programs after school and during the summer.

"Instead of the kids being out on the street they can come by," Licata said.

There's a free dinner program operated in conjunction with the Community Foodbank of New Jersey through the school year and during the summer -- as well as breakfasts and lunches.

The club has 128 total members and averages 60 to 75 youngsters a day.

"Hackensack has over 4,000 kids," Licata said. "We barely touched the tip of the iceberg as far as kids in Hackensack."

Licata is hoping through the weekend event will bring the kind of recognition that can help the club grow.

"We want the community involved, not just our kids and family," he said. "It takes a village to raise a child, as they say."

MORE INFORMATION : (973) 473-7410 or www.bgcofhackensack.org .

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