AIKEN - After being without a full-time executive director the past three months, the Aiken County Boys and Girls Club received a new leader Monday.
Shunte Abrams, 23, was appointed executive director of the organization, which serves 600 children year-round.
She replaced Francine Cayruth, who left the organization in March to take a job with the United Way of Aiken County. She had served in the position for a year and a half.
Ms. Abrams has been working part-time and as a volunteer for the club the past 21/2 years. She started out as program director where she wrote health, physical education and other enrichment programs for children and managed day-to-day operations of the club.
She became interim executive director in May 1995 until December 1995, when she became unit director supervising program directors and recruiting volunteers.
She became interim director again after Ms. Cayruth left in March.
Ms. Abrams said she has numerous goals in mind for the club.
"I want to expand the membership and integrate the membership more," Ms. Abrams said. "We also want to open up another (Boys and Girls Club) site in Gloverville. We don't have the staff and transportation to keep going out there to drop kids off and pick them up."
Ms. Abrams said she was surprised to get the appointment.
"I knew I had a lot of supporters but I was surprised when I got picked," she said.
James Gallman, a member of the club's advisory council which recommended Ms. Abrams for the job, said he picked her because of her relationship with the children.
"The children seem to rally around her and understand that she cares about them," Mr. Gallman said. "The fact also that she had experience in working with this program and could afford us some continuity was another factor."
Tim Simmons, interim chairman of the advisory council, agreed.
"She has been working with the club on a volunteer and part-time basis a number of years," he said. "She's energetic, enthusiastic, creative and able to work with young people well."