LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - Barry Richard is making a big impact on an organization that made a big impact on him while he was growing up.
As a child, Richards hopped on the bus after school and took it to the Tippecanoe County Boys Club. There he would spend several hours and learn skills he uses to this day.
Now, more than 30 years later, Richard is leading the same club and making a big impact on children. Richard spent most of his adult life steering children in the right direction, but perhaps his biggest accomplishments are yet to come.
It was only months ago, the Lafayette Dare Officer decided to throw on another hat as Executive Director of the Lyn Treece Boys and Girls Club.
"Things were not in good shape, and we knew we had to turn things around," said Richard.
With a little elbow grease, that's what Richard is doing. He moved the games from the front of the club, to the gym. Now the first stop kids make after school, is the study area.
"What it meant to me, having community members as mentors, I realized how important it was for us to do that."
In 1974, Richard was named Boy of the Year at the former Boys Club. He displays the plaque and his Boys Club member card, in his office. Also in his office, a screen with live video from every room of the club.
"I know what they are going through because I basically came from the same background, and knowing that they are capable of doing anything they would like and be whoever they want, it's just a matter of doing the right things and working hard, and having the proper mentors in their life."
Construction is underway. A new salon is being built to teach kids the importance of hygiene and grooming. Volunteers will shampoo, and cut the kids' hair for free. There, children will also learn how to take care of their teeth.
"Get some dentists to come in with our program and helping some kids, so we see this as a fantastic program that is going to help them through their growing years."
A new indoor game room is being built. Subaru (SIA) donated a theater room for continuing education, and a new washer and dryer is making a big splash.
Zynaija Brown learned how to do her own laundry for the first time.
"When I got to put the clothes inside, I started getting what she was saying and it started to make sense, and now I do my laundry at home," said Brown.
Richard said it's in his heart to make a difference in kids' lives. He's spent the last 15 years as the Lafayette Dare Officer, and now wants to make sure the children that need them the most, are being taught the skills they need.
"Ya know the saying is, give before you get, and we showed that we were willing to work, get our facilities right, staffing right, and be here when we say we're gonna be here, and it's really paid off," said Richard.
Richard is doing more with less. He said the Club received less funding because of the previous administration's non compliance with United Way Standards. To help, you can call the club, at 765-742-2991. Richard is also offering space outside the club for members and their families to plant their own vegetable gardens this summer.
A Lafayette man charged with multiple bank robberies in Tippecanoe and Clinton Counties pleads guilty to a series of bank robberies in Illinois.
The drop in temperatures brings the potential for health dangers, such as hypothermia and frost bite. The bitter temperatures can pose a threat for children, adults and pets.
As it stands Wednesday, there will be no FEMA aid for tornado survivors in Howard County.