MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – The new Boys and Girls Club of the Grand Strand opened in a different location and building on Monday on the corner of Mr. Joe White Avenue and Dunbar Street.

The Boys and Girls Club will offer an after school program that’s academically based and focused on extracurricular skills. The Myrtle Beach location welcomes all students from Horry County Schools.

“To finally have this day come, the staff is ready, I was antsy this morning,” Jeremy Howard, The Boys and Girls Club of Grand Strand, program director, said.

After bouncing around to different locations for years, program coordinators welcomed back kids for the first time since March and staff said they are here to stay.

“The relationship we have with them is outside of here, we see them at grocery stores, and they just look at us like superstars,” Howard said.

It’s a big building with an even bigger opportunity offered inside.

“We try to give them a career base and how to become a better citizen. That’s our goal, starting them young, and once they get older, they can come back and give back,” Howard said.

The new building offers an art classroom, gym, and a virtual workspace for homework. Jeremey Howard said the goal is to create the best foundation for kids in the community and plan to do so by offering different programs in each classroom.

“We have ‘Passport to Manhood‘ and ‘SMART Girls,’ things that build character. So, that’s the thing we are trying to get them back to,” Howard said.

School buses or parents can drop their kids off at The Boys and Girls Club, where volunteers and staff will help with homework, recreational activities, and create a safe place to hang out.

Based on response leading up to opening day, Jeremy Howard says they are expecting an overload.

“Just because of COVID-19, we have our ratio down, but I mean parents are really like can we come even though we are doing virtual and I’m like bring them, if you can get them here, we will take them and continue the program,” Howard said.

Program coordinators at The Boys and Girls Club said they will follow the same COVID-19 guidelines enforced in Horry County Schools while following the same hybrid schedule, and accept ten kids per grade each day. The Boys and Girls club will conduct smaller group sizes, provide sanitizing stations, and individual supplies for children.

“On ‘A’ day, students in first grade, we are taking 10, and on ‘B’ day, students in the first grade, we are taking 10, and that goes for every grade up through our teen program,” Howard said.

When kids at The Boys and Girls Club of the Grand Strand are welcomed back today, Howard says they will have this place to call home.

“All we know is making them a better citizen and making them better here and having fun with them once they come,” Howard said.

There will be a 10:1 student to teacher ratio during the pandemic. Annual memberships are $10 for families. To sign up for after school programs, click here.