Volunteering Series: A Summertime Enrichment Program!
Featuring, Boys & Girls Clubs of Martin County/The Cole-Clark Club in Hobe Sound
Previously Published in the Pineapple Post
By Helena Kyle
Another school year in the books, already. Thank you to all teachers for taking on the tremendous commitment of preparing students for the next level of their education – I wish you all a summer break of refreshment and renewal. If you are a parent of student/s returning to elementary through high school next fall, but do not have the financial resources to send your children to expensive camps throughout the summer, while you are at work, there is an invaluable alternative to leaving them at home, alone. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Martin County are a youth development agency, which operate year-round, offering students a safe place to engage in a week-day summer enrichment program that includes physical fitness, reading, gardening, the arts and STEM, an acronym for science, technology, engineering, and math.
In 1860, The Boys & Girls Clubs were founded by three women, Mary Goodwin, Alice Goodwin, and Elizabeth Hammersley, in Hartford, Connecticut; at that time, it was called The Good Will Club. The club was formed out of concern for the welfare of boys wondering the streets without adult supervision. Eventually, the name changed to The Boys Clubs, changed again, to The Federated Boys Clubs, to The Federated Boys Clubs of America. Somewhere along the timeline, someone got a clue, and saw the need for girls to be included – in 1990 the name was changed to The Boys & Girls Clubs.
My visit to the Cole-Clark club in Hobe Sound was not only insightful, but endearing, for the facility has a home-away-from-home feel; it’s a great facility for the students, offering spacious areas for reading, computers, arts and crafts, gardening, and a stage for music or dance performance. A large multipurpose room facilitates a basketball court, and a dining area for the snacks and lunch served to the students each weekday. The summer enrichment program benefits the students by maintaining skills learned throughout the school year, in a fun, creative environment. It was a privilege to meet three women as passionate for positive child development as the founders of the Boys & Girls Clubs, Greta Moncayo, Community Relations Manager, Sarah Torres Outcomes Officer, and Club Director, Angela Yearwood.
During the school year, one hundred percent of the volunteers are seasonal residents. On the tour of the facility, I met two volunteers who taught crocheting – the students were riveted to their projects. They were crocheting edging around throws that they will donate to a local pet shelter. Come on locals, its summertime, the seasonal residents are back home and the Boys and Girls Club would appreciate volunteers for the summer enrichment program! There are typically twenty children to one adult in the program, without the help of volunteers. There is no need for specific experience, the willingness to volunteer for an hour, or as many hours you would like, is helpful. A safe environment for the children and teens is of upmost importance at the Boys and Girls Clubs – all volunteers will have a background check. You are welcome to share your skills, or assist the staff by volunteering. College students, aspiring to become educators, may find it helpful and rewarding to volunteer as well.
Boys & Girls Clubs membership fee is $35.00 annually, with an additional fee for the summertime enrichment program, however, no child is turned away. If you are unable to volunteer, but would like to give a monetary gift toward a summer program scholarship, your donation would be much appreciated. Boys and Girls Clubs offer summer enrichment programs throughout Martin County, St. Lucie County, and beyond.
For more information: www.bgcmartin.org
Greta Moncayo, Community Relations Manager 772-545-1255
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 910
Hobe Sound, FL 33475