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Oprah to Dedicate Miss. Kids’ Club

September 4, 2006

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) _ Talk show host Oprah Winfrey plans to be in her birthplace of Kosciusko to dedicate a state-of-the-art Boys & Girls Club she helped sponsor.

The estimated $5 million facility houses a gymnasium, computer lab and garden.

``We know how valuable her time is and happy that she is giving us a little of it to come down here,″ said Jimmy Cockroft, mayor of the city of 7,334.

Paul Powers, vice president of special projects for The Oprah Winfrey Boys & Girls Club of Kosciusko and Attala County, said the facility will be used mainly for after-school activities for boys and girls 5-18 years old. After homework is finished, children can participate in arts programs or take advantage of the building’s gymnasium.

The facility should open in a few weeks.

Construction began in October 2004 on the 32,000-square-foot facility that was funded by The Oprah Winfrey Foundation, said Powers. The facility’s garden will be used to teach children to grow their own food.

Children can prepare some of the food in a kitchen area, designed by Winfrey’s personal chef, Art Smith, who also will be on hand for the dedication Monday. Powers said children will have access to audio and visual equipment to film themselves and other chefs preparing food. The footage could be made into DVDs and sold as a fundraiser, Powers said.

The project began in 1998, after the talk-show host visited Kosciusko to dedicate a Habitat for Humanity home she funded, Cockroft said. After meeting with the community, Winfrey decided that a Boys & Girls Club would be the most beneficial thing she could do for young people.


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