For me the Boys and Girls Club in Parkside was a great transition after thirty-four years of teaching high school. The Club was ready to open in the winter of my first year of retirement and I began as a part time employee, but have been a volunteer for much longer.
Everyone was new then and all the programs just getting underway. Looking for a definite change from my professional career, I worked with the younger students in the Power Hour as they did homework and received one-on-one assistance. Later in the afternoon the youngsters were allowed to go downstairs and play ping pong or shoot pool or play basketball in the gym under the guidance of the young adults who were part time employees. I sometimes joined them downstairs but mostly stayed upstairs. Some children wanted to read or be read to; some wanted to play board games or work in the computer lab; some wanted to draw. I enjoyed all of those activities with the youngsters and found them to be happy, friendly and polite.
I have been very impressed by the many wonderful programs which have been developed by the national organization. There are programs for the teenage members to develop leadership, prepare for interviews, and consider the various paths open to them after high school. Each new Club does not have to reinvent the wheel to be effective.
There are events which encourage the members to meet kids from other Boys and Girls Clubs, to compete for recognition and honors, to meet leaders in sports, entertainment, politics and business.
The Boys and Girls Club of Camden County, now with a building in East Camden, provides a safe, caring and rewarding after-school and summer experience for the young residents of this area.
From coming in a few hours a week as a volunteer, to providing financial support, to serving on the Board, interested adults will find meaningful opportunities with this organization which has a dramatic and significant impact on the lives of its young members.
Donating to the Boys and Girls Club of Camden County has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my life. I found them seven years ago after learning about the hardships faced by the youth living in that community and wanted to try and find a way to help.
From that day seven years ago until today, I have had the opportunity to meet the most special people and develop life long relationships. Every time I make a donation I receive such a heartfelt letter of acknowledgement and sometimes even letters from the children that make my heart just melt. I know that even my small donations make a difference in the lives of children there and it is appreciated.
Words cannot describe how lucky I feel to have crossed paths with this organization and the people that work there. They are all so dedicated, warm and are doing amazing things for the children of their neighborhood.
I will be a life long donor to the BGCCC and feel so blessed that my own children will grow up knowing the rewarding feeling of giving to others. The actions, gratitude and warmth of the people at BGCCC have helped cultivate that feeling in my children and for that I am forever grateful.