Our View: Community children caught up in Girls Club drama

While there has been a lot of confusion over the management, or lack thereof, of the LR Jackson Girls Club in West Memphis, and the appropriate decision on the part of city leaders to withhold quarterly Southland Park Gaming and Racing charity funds, we must say it is a real shame that the individuals that suffer the most in this chaotic mess are the youth of this community. As we understand, the latest development in this sad state of affairs is that it appears city leaders seem to be satisfied with the input from this club’s so-called activities director by the name of Chancey Rainey and apparently agreed to release the funds. For two consecutive quarters, these funds had been held back over city officials concerned about the apparent lack of financial accountability and them not having a detailed report regarding the club’s activities. Even under this latest decision, to release the funds we have to commend Councilwoman Helen Harris and Councilman Willis Mondy, who were the most vocal in expressing objection to disbursing the funds based on their perceived lack of an activities schedule and a clear neglect of property maintenance. Supposedly, Rainey has promised to be available for questioning and also promises to have more programs mentoring at least the girls and a basketball league. We hope Mondy and Harris, as well as the other city council members are skeptical enough to realize that there have been promises made in the past and still this serious situation was not properly addressed. We are sure that this activities director has good intentions but until city officials actually see some clear signs of serious improvement we would hope proper action is taken. As we pointed out from the very beginning, those suffering the greatest from this lack of responsibility on the part of the adults are the youth of the community who deserve better leadership. Up to this point, those in responsible positions have clearly shown to be poor examples of showing these young people how to accept and deal with responsibility. The origin of this girl’s club on 25th Street was the dream of former and well respected Councilwoman Roberta Jackson, a true leader who demonstrated through her actions positive change for the constituents she represented. We absolutely know that if this former city leader were alive today she would be devastated to see what has become of something she worked so hard to turn into reality. It is pathetic that this situation has been allowed to reach the point it has, and while promises have been made the citizens deserve serious oversight on the part of Council members Mondy, Harris and others to make absolutely sure youth schedules are implemented and programs initiated. Situations such as this should not be tolerated and are an embarrassment to the full leadership of this city.

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