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The Boys and Girls Club of Poplar Bluff received the 2019 Missouri Alliance Area Council Award for Outstanding Program at the Boys and Girls Club Annual Hall of Fame Banquet in Springfield, Missouri, on September 18.

The Boys and Girls Club (BGC) was honored for its College Kids program that is conducted in partnership with Three Rivers College. Members of Three Rivers College, Poplar Bluff R-1 Schools, and the Boys and Girls Club of Poplar Bluff attended the event.

Three Rivers College has had an ongoing partnership with the BGC of Poplar Bluff, but in Fall 2018 the organizations expanded their partnership to include the College Kids program. The program was designed to help BGC students understand that a college education is something they can achieve and to help them develop a plan to become successful adults after they complete high school.

There is no cost for students to participate in the program. BGC provides transportation, covers the cost of instructors, and pays for material fees, and Three Rivers waives the tuition fees for each student.

“The College was excited to further our partnership with the Boys and Girls Club. Giving these students the opportunity to earn college credits and realize that a college education is attainable for them is something we are very proud to be part of,” said Dr. Wesley Payne, President of Three Rivers College. “We hope their first college experiences here at Three Rivers inspire them to continue their education after high school.”

In the Fall, students can attend the Academic Life Strategies class, and in the Spring can enroll in a Computer Basics course.

To date, 12 BGC students have completed 16 courses for college credits, and more students are taking classes right now. Of those 12 BGC students, eight are first generation college students.

“We have an incredible relationship with Poplar Bluff R-1 Schools and our goal was to replicate that same kind of partnership with Three Rivers College. We have an amazing resource in TRC that allows our teen members to continue to thrive. Dr. Payne, Dr. (Justin) Hoggard, and Dr. (Leslie) Gragg along with our team committed themselves to ‘thinking outside of the box’ to make this incredible opportunity a reality,” said Chris Rushin, Chief Executive Officer, Boys and Girls Club of Poplar Bluff.

TRC and BGC plan to continue the College Kids program indefinitely and are working on new ways to help BGC students receive college credits while still in high school.

Three Rivers College is committed to contributing to the quality of life in Southeast Missouri with quality, affordable higher education opportunities and community services that support and encourage the economic, civic, and cultural vitality of the region. For more information about college and workforce programs and upcoming events, visit

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2080 Three Rivers Blvd., Poplar Bluff, MO 63901
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