Summer can be an unproductive time for some kids. Maybe a little swimming or video games.

But a group of young ladies at the Boys & Girls Club in Covington have been using their time the last couple of months to make a difference.

Thanks to a grant from the National Boys & Girls Club, about 15 girls from the local club have been painting the fingernails of the residents at Magnolia Creek Nursing and Rehabilitation in Covington.

It’s called the Smart Girls Program and its purpose is to get the girls at the Boys & Girls Club to help other females in the community.

Felisha Mason, program director at the club in Covington, reached out to Magnolia Creek and arranged for the girls to have a “glamour day” every Tuesday this summer.

Last Tuesday was the last day and it was obvious the female residents were enjoying having their nails painted and interacting with the girls.

Georgia Peach Dixon, an 83-year-old who insists everybody calls her Peaches, was surrounded by two or three girls while having her nails painted.

“They’re good,” she said. “I think it’s nice because they’re volunteering and we need help.”

“They’re lined up waiting for them,” said Vicki Price, activities director at Magnolia Creek. “They know what day they come and they’re always ready. They can’t wait.”

Several of the girls said they were nervous at first, but on Tuesday everybody seemed to be having a good time.

“They always say, ‘This is pretty, you’re pretty’,” said Breanna Norton, an 11-year-old who will be a seventh grader at Brighton Middle. “They say, ‘Thanks for doing my nails.’”

“I don’t get nervous,” said 14-year-old Oniya Boyd, who will be a freshman at Covington. “I feel like a better person when I do this. I feel like my patience got better.”

Essence Adams works at the Boys & Girls Club and helps get the girls organized.

“It’s a blessing to us and I think we really make the residents happy by coming in,” she said. “I think it’s a good feeling for the girls.”

Mason told the story of a girl who is in foster care who has been transformed by the experience.

“At first she would cry because she didn’t want to see the residents like this. Now she’s the most hands-on person we have, helping everybody out. That was very touching to me.”

Cathy Fowler, a 64-year-old resident, summed it up perfectly: “These ladies want to look pretty. When they get their nails done they feel like a million bucks. They feel special. The kids give these ladies a special feeling, the feeling of being ladies again, not just part of the crowd.”

Jeff Ireland is The Leader's sports editor. To contact him, call 901-476-7116 or email jireland@covingtonleader.com.​

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