Atlanta’s Boys & Girls Clubs working to protect more teens from gun violence

ATLANTA — Shaniya Simmons will never forget the first time she walked through the door.  

“I was 6. Honestly, I was nervous,” Shaniya said.

Now, she’s a tutor at the Warren Boys & Girls Club in Southeast Atlanta, where they are doubling down on their efforts to help local kids.

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“It’s our hope this can be a game changer and part of the solution in our city,” said David Jernigan, Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta CEO.

He is working on the plan to invest a $1 million donation from the city of Atlanta. The goal is to expand safe spaces for kids to come to. 

Recent gun violence like the shooting in the parking lot of a high school in Cobb County has leaders looking for solutions. The Boys & Girls Clubs have one, which is expanding club hours on weekends. 

“Friday and Saturday nights. To give teens a place to come that is safe and off the streets,” Jernigan said.

Shaniya is sure it will help. She’s an 11-year veteran of this club.

“I think it will have a great impact and give them a new place to go to be safer,” she said. 

She already comes to the Warren Club five days a week, and if they’re open weekend nights, she’s all in.   

“It has meant a lot.  It has definitely helped with character building.  I don’t know where I would be if I didn’t go here,” Shaniya said.


There are 25 Boys & Girls Clubs across metro Atlanta. 

Weekend hours will start with the three clubs inside the city.

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