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Help the Boys & Girls Club make a difference

Published: 8:29 AM, 01/09/2013
 

Author: Jessica Cross
Source: The Monroe County Advocate

It just takes one.

One opportunity can change the life of a child. One dream can give a sense of purpose. One voice can resonate. One Boys & Girls Club can give hope to a community.

"The Boys & Girls Club of the Monroe Area offers a wonderful service and truly prepares the youth of today for excellence tomorrow," said Executive Director Jamison Sliger.

Since its inception in 1996, when a group of concerned citizens led by Dr. David Kefauver and Curwood Witt came together to discuss the pressing needs of the youth in Monroe County, the non-profit has continued to make a positive impact on young lives in the county by providing youth development programs in supervised facilities.

"We have more than 2,000 kids in our clubs and programs annually," said Sliger. "That's a lot of kids for our area."

With a daily average attendance of approximately 350 students during the school year (not including summers), the local clubs have been a steady staple to many families.

"It's all about awareness," said Sliger. "Some people don't even know what all we do here in Monroe County."

Toward the end of the month, the Boys & Girls Club of the Monroe Area will kick off their annual fundraising campaign called, "It just takes one."

"One person can help us make a brighter tomorrow for children in this county," said Sliger.

Inky Johnson will speak at an invitation only (due to limited seating) campaign kickoff and luncheon on Jan. 17.

Johnson, a former football player for the University of Tennessee, grew up in an impoverished community, where he slept on his living room floor. But, Johnson strove for better opportunities and perseverance led him to UT. A career-ending injury left with him permanent nerve damage, but he continues to give back to communities by telling his story.

The Boys & Girls Club of the Monroe Area is working on creating awareness for the campaign in the county.

"We want everyone to be aware of the campaign and when it's coming every year," said Sliger.

The funds from the Annual Campaign are used to pay the approximately 80-member staff for the clubs in the area, for use of the buildings where the clubs are housed, and for activities and programs for the youth members. The Annual Campaign will end in May.

This year the Boys & Girls Club of the Monroe Area has set a goal of $120,000 for the annual campaign.

"We're not looking at it as a monetary goal," said Sliger. "We're looking to sponsor 120 kids a year and it costs the Boys & Girls Club about $1,000 annually to support each child."

Sliger said that $1,000 goes to the student's after school activities, trips, summer activities and programs at the Teen Center.

"Funds donated will go toward the advancement of youth in programs such as mentoring, homework assistance, career and college readiness programs, and in helping us provide a caring atmosphere for students," said Sliger.

Details on programs offered by the local Boys & Girls Club chapter can be found on their website at bgcmonroearea.org.

This year, the local clubs are transitioning into serving actual meals and not just snacks to the students after school.

"We're really proud of this," said Sliger.

In the fall, only snacks were provided for attending students, but beginning this week students will receive a mini sub sandwich, servings of fruits and veggies, and more.

More recently, the Club has started a Career and College Readiness Program, featuring a college road trip.

"We did it last year and we're going to do it again this year," said Sliger.

The Career and College Readiness Program takes teenagers through three classes, focusing on careers, money matters and graduation goals. In addition to the classes, students also have the opportunity to go on a college road trip.

"We will take them to visit local colleges and universities in the southeast United States," said Sliger.

Sliger said the local chapter of the Boys & Girls Club relies on community.

"The future of tomorrow is in our youth," said Sliger. "It's not only our responsibility to create a thriving atmosphere for the youth to excel in, but it's also the community's responsibility."

Through community support, the local clubs continue to strengthen youth.

"We're not only strengthening our youth though," said Sliger. "We're strengthening our community."

To donate to the annual campaign for the Boys & Girls Club of the Monroe Area, visit the website at bgcmonroearea.org or mail your donation to 615 Warren Street South, Madisonville, TN 37354.

For more information on the annual campaign or the local Boys & Girls Club, call 423-442-6770.


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