La Crosse, Wisconsin (WXOW) --- The Great Rivers United Way is short of its fundraising goal. As you know the organization funds various programs throughout La Crosse and four other counties. One of the organizations that will feel it the most is the Boys & Girls Club of La Crosse.
Executive Director Mike Desmond says "If the community could see what I see, they would be absolutely appalled. All the studies show that if you just give kids a safe place to hang out all the risk factors that you associate with in particular teenage kids all begin to go down dramatically."
Brandyn Nelson is living proof. "I was the kid who didn't want to participant or have anything to do with anyone." And so is Ariel Morgan. "Before I was a girl who was bossy and thought I knew everything. Now I'm cool with everybody and can understand people."
The cost for a yearly membership is 350 dollars but families pay just 20, if they pay at all. "That's why we need the United Way because even if every kid paid 20 dollars we're still 330 dollars in the hole."
Brandyn met with Mike after punching a wall. He's over that now. And Ariel says life is almost perfect. "I probably wouldn't be doing sports or doing my homework I'm a student with a 3.5 grade point average and I haven't gotten in trouble in 3 years now."
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