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      McAllen Boys & Girls Club training kids to stay away from trouble

      It may be fun, loud, and entertaining, but educational?

      Children may not know it, but spending time at the Boys and Girls Club is just that.

      McAllen Boys & Girls Club Resource Developer Normalynda Zepeda said the group offers a variety of activities.

      "They can be doing an arts and crafts class and we'll talk about maybe an alcohol lesson or a drug lesson or self image," Zepeda said.

      She said there is a curriculum the clubs follow.

      "That's what we call the 'SMART Move' session," she said.

      SMART stands for Skills Mastery and Resistance Training.

      Although school may be the farthest thing from these kids' minds during their summer break, the Boys & Girls Club us schooling them on how to stay off the streets and out of trouble.

      "These kids are getting some kind of training to resist the temptations and peer pressures that are out there," Zepeda said. "The issues that are affecting them today."

      Zepeda also said that the Boys & Girls Club of McAllen teams up with McAllen ISD to provide free lunch for children under 18 years of age, and anyone from the community is welcome.

      "It frees me from doing lunch at home," said Olga Sandana.

      The McAllen mother said she takes her children for the free lunch.

      "We don't have to take this money out of our own pocket and use it somehwere else instead of buying extra food--extra groceries," Sandana said.

      This allows Sandana to spend more quality time with her kids during their summer break.

      The Boys & Girls Club has activities from arts and crafts to karate and drama.

      Contact your local Boys & Girls Club for more information.