Beat the Streets reunion scheduled for November

Published 10:47 am Saturday, July 1, 2017

By Dawn Burleigh

The Orange Leader

Sitting around a table, looking through old photo albums and notes, three days talk about their ‘kids.’

While they were not biological mothers to the young children, Marva Paul, Shirley Crawford and Marcia B. Delarue were care providers, mentors, teachers and moms to many children over the years the Beat the Street club was operating in Orange.

The Boys Club, as it was sometimes referred to as by the boys, was started in 1993 by two college students, Troy Robinson and Franklin Gans, Jr. with Attorney Marcia B. Delarue. Robinsion and Gans saw a need in the community to find activities for the young boys in the neighborhood to help them ‘beat the streets.’

Robinson and Gans approached Delarue concerning a building the group could use as a meeting place.

“My tenants had just moved out so I told them they could use the building,” Delarue said.

Originally, the club was for boys only and initially an application was required.

“We did away with the application,” Delarue said. “We would just say ‘Come on’ or pick them up.”

What started with 12 boys between the ages of 9-14 grew to 33 children, both boys and girls.

“The boys were downstairs and the girls were upstairs,” Marva Paul said.

Paul was a director for the boys from 1997- 2009.

“I was always checking on my nephews and my sons,” Paul said. “I wanted to make sure they were acting right.”

Seeing the benefits of the group, Paul became more involved and named director.

In 2002, the girls club was added.

“The girls would ask why they didn’t have a club when they came with their mothers to pick up the boys,” Delarue said. “So we added the girls.”

Delarue added the organization never limited the number of children.

“We did not pick and choose kids,” Delarue said. “They came and we tried to find activities for them.”

And activities they found from a trip to Mississippi, to learning how to cook, shop, visit a ranch, and learn proper hygiene and table etiquette.

“Mr. Mayfield would stop by and talk about heritage with them,” Shirley Crawford said. “You could not hear a pin drop when he spoke. They loved to hear him speak.”

“They loved to walk through the neighborhood,” Marva Paul said. “We would observe the changes as we walked.”

“It’s time to get these kids back together,” Delarue said. “Some of them have children now. Well they are not children anymore, some of them are 34 now.”

A two day event is scheduled for November 17 and 18, 2017 at DJ’s located at 2200 Simmons Drive in Orange at Blue Bird’s Park.

“We are planning indoors and outdoor activities,” Marcia B. Delarue said.

An organization for summer activities to help Orange children ‘Beat the Streets’ taught many children life experiences they may not have experienced otherwise.

For more information concerning the reunion, contact Marva Paul at 886-7975 or Marcia B. Delarue at 883-9767