BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Baton Rouge and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Louisiana, which encompassed Covington, Slidell and Gretna, have merged to create the Boys & Girls Club of Metro Louisiana.

Image courtesy of Boys & Girls Club of Metro Louisiana

The new club will serve around 20,000 families in a nine-parish area, according to spokesperson Bridget Cloud.

The president and CEO of the group will be Pat R. Van Burkleo, who headed the Baton Rouge club for 30 years.

“This merger gives us the opportunity to serve more kids and develop deeper programming,” Van Burkleo said. “Combining our forces will enable us to scale our best practices, streamline operations and be more cost-efficient – all to serve and support more kids.”

Boys & Girls clubs focus on character and leadership development, academic success and offering programs to promote healthy lifestyles, and they further serve communities by offering safe, after-school places for children ages 6 to 18.