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Moody County Youth Shares What the Club Means to Him

The Boys & Girls Club of Moody County, located in the beautiful city of Flandreau, SD, has achieved great success over the past five years. Twelve year old Julius G. has been a Club member in Moody County, a unit of the Boys & Girls Club of Brookings, since December 2010. Julius has been able to witness and experience much of the Club’s tremendous growth during his membership tenure. A recent interview with Julius captured his impressions of the Club and how it has helped him grow.

Julius immediately enjoyed coming to the Club after school as well as throughout the summer and connecting with staff members. What is the best part of being a Club kid? Julius likes “to hang out with [his] friends and play fun activities like dodge ball and help make meals for the younger Club members with staff.”

In addition to spending time with peers and staff members, Julius has been able to participate in many Club programs and activities including a program called Clubs against Tobacco and SMART Moves. He shared that those programs helped him learn about making healthy relationship choices and become more confident in his knowledge of harmful habits like smoking. The Club also offers time for Power Hour where youth are given the opportunity to finish up school work, read quietly, and participate in mentoring programs like STEM Mentoring and other OJJDP-funded initiatives. Julius receives mentoring and enjoys spending time with a trusted adult who listens to his struggles and achievements.

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Club’s Archery Team Shoots for a Cure

Last fall, the Boys & Girls Club of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians’ archery team held an amazing event that brought together mentors, mentees, and their community in Atmore, AL. Through archery tournament admissions and raffle tickets, their "Shoot for a Cure to End Childhood Cancer” event raised over $5,000 for St. Jude's Research Hospital!

The success of the event was largely due to the team’s ability to bring their community together to support the cause. Community partners included the local recreation department, who provided the site for the event, community business owners who provided raffle items, and the local Pepsi Company who donated drinks. In addition to recruiting community partners, the team’s 40+ members sold “Shoot for a Cure” tee shirts and volunteered during the event at the raffle station and concession stand. The youth also created a moving video that highlighted the need for cancer care and research in order to promote the event.

Beyond the success of their “Shoot for a Cure” event, the Club’s archery program teaches discipline and confidence all year round. All Club members rotate through the Club’s thriving archery program on a weekly basis and can choose to join the Club’s archery team if interested. The team is leveled so that beginner, intermediate, and experienced members are all welcome to join.

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Special Recognition for Mentor at Boys & Girls Club of Nowata

Mentoring matters in the lives of youth across the county. Each January, we have the opportunity to create awareness about the positive effects of mentoring, share best practices that create a thriving environment for mentors and mentees, and celebrate the mentors who have impacted our programs so deeply. This year, the Boys & Girls Club of Nowata celebrated one of their dedicated mentors who was recognized at the “Mentor Day at the Capital” event.

As a part of National Mentoring Month, the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence and its Boren Mentoring Initiative accepts nominations for stellar mentors from youth serving mentoring organizations across the state to join in a celebration called “Mentor Day at the Capital”. It is a chance for mentors and mentees alike to honor mentoring and to share fun, educational activities at the Oklahoma state capital. For the first time, the Boys & Girls Club of Nowata nominated one of their mentors to take place in this prestigious event. Rachelle Pearson, who has served at the Club as a mentor for 3 years, was selected as one of over sixty mentors statewide recognized for her efforts in supporting youth through mentoring!

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VISTA Members Inspire Community Service on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

On January 18, many VISTA members coordinated service projects at their Clubs for the Martin Luther King Jr. National Day of Service.

The Corporation for National & Community Service led the effort to inspire hundreds of thousands of volunteers to come together on the National Day of Service to honor Dr. King’s legacy of service and community improvement. All VISTA members were encouraged to participate in a project and document the success and impact it had on their community.

Arianna Riccio, VISTA member at the Boys & Girls Club of the Flathead Reservation and Lake County, arranged to have youth visit the local Health and Rehabilitation Center to work with elders. Together, the elders and youth played MLK Day trivia, games, and puzzles that involved information about Dr. King’s legacy.

A highlight of the day for many youth was learning how to make origami doves of peace and helping others learn as well. For many youth, this was their first experience with community service and their first chance to interact with elders and better understand their needs. The youth learned how much fun they could have while providing community service, and what a difference they could make. The Club youth look forward to returning to the Center for future service opportunities.

Through this and other projects facilitated by VISTA members on MLK Day, VISTA members passed on to youth the importance of service and how people of any age can be a part of working to improve their communities.

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AmeriCorps VISTA Member Achieves Success at Penobscot Boys & Girls Club-Presque Isle

At many Clubs, online marketing is very important in promoting programs and opportunities to youth and families. VISTA member Whytnie Martin-Sackett of the Penobscot Boys & Girls Club - Presque Isle has worked to improve the Club’s online presence by redeveloping the Club’s website.

The goal of the new website was to create something more user-friendly to keep families connected with up-to-date information about current events in the local organization as well as the greater Boys & Girls Clubs of America community. On the Club’s site, visitors can find the services the Club offers, staff and Board vision and goals, downloadable calendars, social media connects, event reminders, and much more.

The website has been utilized to promote the Club’s Halloween event, the annual powwow, the Mawiomi of Tribes, a Christmas in July Fundraising Gala, and more of the many great programs and events happening at the Penobscot Boys & Girls Club – Presque Isle. One of the Club’s most popular events was their recent partnership with a local photography studio to offer a holiday portrait day for Club members and their families. Whytnie coordinated the event and worked with Club staff to include the families, many of whom took advantage of the free opportunity to take family pictures for the holidays.

“My hope is that the new Boys & Girls Club site provides a place for current members to send in and share their stories and experiences from Club activities; in this way we can create a positive Club presence so that potential members can jump online, see for themselves, and believe in the success of Boys & Girls Clubs as much as the rest of us already do!” said Whytnie.

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BGCA Native Services Unit
Dallas Service Center
2107 N. Collins Boulevard
Richardson, TX 75080

Direct: 972-581-2374
E-mail: BGCANS@BGCA.ORG