Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What We Learned At This Week's Meeting

Our speaker today was Nancy Ball of the Boys & Girls Club. Nancy opened by saying her “Life Title” on her business card says “Dream Keeper. She believes they help boys and girls who don't know how to dream.

The Boys and Girls Club is a safe place to go after school for kids 6-18 who don't have parents at home after school. The police will confirm that from 3-6pm juvenile crime goes up, crimes against kids go up and teen pregnancy goes up. They have clubs in Amelia (100 kids daily), New Richmond (50 kids daily) and Felicity (80 kids daily). The charge is $5 per year which the kids either pay or work off. Over the course of a year, they serve 3000+ kids through various outreaches. Their budget is about $500k per year and funding comes from various grants, an annual campaign (this year April 16) and other events. 80% of their funds are used for staff to serve the kids. Many of their locations require little to no fees.

This is a positive place for kids. Kids get positive guidance, positive role models, positive character development, positive activities in all sorts of categories especially education and career development. They do homework help and tutoring 4 days per week for 1 hour. The club wants and encourages kids to know they can go to college. Teachers give much positive feedback so the club can track the progress of the kids. New Richmond police even credit the Boys and Girls Club for dropping their juvenile case load from 56-20.

If you ask the kids who go to “the positive place” they will say it's lots of fun, they can hang with their friends, they love the staff, etc. They love that there's always someone to listen and that they have a safe place to go when life gets tough. Nancy shared a story about a boy who constantly got in trouble but would choose to come to the Boys and Girls Club. He worked on his behavior over time and became much more consistent in following the rules. By high school he was entirely turned around to the point he even began helping younger kids. This boy went on to join the Army where he joined the Rangers. He eventually called to simply thank the club for making such an impact in his life.

The Boys and Girls Club received a grant from the county to purchase an old theater in New Richmond and rehab it. All sorts of businesses and individuals are donating their services and materials to help finish this project.

They are committed to working with other communities such as Batavia and Owensville to determine how to serve more kids. The plans now are to start a summer outreach in Goshen and eventually have a Goshen club.

Next week we will have local high school students competing in our 4 Way Speech contest.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

What We Learned At This Week's Meeting

Our speaker today was Allan Walsh, a member of the Williamsburg American Legion. He presented the story of the Four Chaplains from World War II.

Each year the legion conducts a “Religious Emphasis Week” where they kick the week off on a Sunday at a different local church. This year they conducted 3 services at a United Methodist Church commemorating the heroic efforts of the 4 chaplains when the US Troop Transport “Dorchester” which sank due to a torpedo strike. The 4 chaplains saved over 200 men before they died in the process. Their hope is to encourage the spirit of cooperation that was displayed by the 4 chaplains.

Allan lit candles in our presence for each of the 4 chaplains: Clark V. Poling, Alexander D. Goode, John P. Washington and George L. Fox. He read a brief biography of each man.

Check out this recent news article.