United Way Success Stories
Program Success Stories
American Red Cross
In April our volunteers responded to a house fire in which we helped an elderly woman with her emergency needs. We were able to put her up in a local hotel and give her financial support for food and clothing as well as helped her get in touch with her doctors to replace her medications that were lost in the fire. Our volunteers followed up with her after the fire and realized that she had no family in town to help her find a new place to live or give her emotional support. Our volunteers worked closely with her and found her a new apartment to rent and helped her with all the paperwork that she needed to receive other assistance. The Red Cross was there in her time of need and if we did not provide the services that we do she would have ended up homeless and without any support.
In February our volunteers responded to an Apartment fire in Brunswick and helped all six families with their immediate needs. One of the family members had to be sent to the Augusta Burn Hospital and we arranged for the family to stay in a hotel for an extended period of time so they could be with their family member. We worked closely with the volunteers from the Augusta Chapter of the American Red Cross and made sure that the family had all their emergency needs met. The family was very happy that they were able to stay with their loved one during such a critical time.
Employment Readiness ProgramStar has meant a lot to me. It has changed my life and has given me the opportunity to meet new people and has opened me up to so new ideas and new aspects of life. It’s has brought me into a new way thinking and be involved with the community and even how to react to different situations that I on the other hand would have reacted differently in.
(I decided to send excerpts from an assignment that we asked our recent class of graduates to complete: “What STAR has meant to me”.) To me, these examples of their reflections of the past 8 weeks are as important as telling an experience of someone who is working or going to college. Those will follow.)
Becoming a star student has motivated me to take control in my life and the life of my child. Star has shown me that there’s new opportunity within you just got to take charge and go for it. Star has made me a new person thanks to all the love and affection from the teachers and the people they have in their lives that were willingly to come help with us [volunteers]. I appreciate everything greatly.
Being a part of the STAR Foundation has been an awesome experience for me for many different reasons. The teachers show so much love and encouragement to their students. Letting us know, they really care about what they do here. Also, meeting new friends and the closeness we have shared like personal situations. Most of all we found out who we really are and what we could contribute and receive in this life. I consider this whole experience to have been one of the greatest opportunities in my life. I have so much to be thankful for.
Ok I am not sure how to start this but…here I go. At the beginning of STAR I was shy and quiet and did not know any of my classmates, also somewhat had a negative outlook on some things in life. Now that I have been in the program I have learned to be positive about pretty much everything, I have met new people that I have no problems with, and I have learned a lot about the computer as well.
Ms. Katie and Ms. Ellen have been both wonderful teachers and amazing friends also great guidance counselors. They have really taught me a lot more than just computer skills. My classmates have been great friends and teachers as well. We all have gotten along so great, and that is hard to find, a group of mostly women being around each other so much.
I haven’t yet found the job that I want to do, but I have confidence and I know with the skills I have now I will find the job I want and go on to finish college to be a medical assistant!!!
Star meant to me was coming here and learning how to use the computer and how to type. Getting to know everybody. Learning a lot about life, and how to handle it. Take the step in life and push forward. To strive every day. I learned that life is to short to worrying about small simple and little things. Star has meant a lot to me because, I came in little experience and low self-esteem and now I have self- confidantes. I am very happy that I took this class. And I want to thank Mrs. Katie and Mrs. Ellen for making this happened for me. Without them I would have not taken this class. I would have been sitting home, gaining weight and getting sicker. Star has help me move forward and made things possible for me.
Heather House of Glynn County
The names have been changed for purposes of confidentiality.Sue began drinking at a very young age and quickly it took over her life leaving her homeless. Sue came to us with an alcohol problem, no job, and no high school diploma. In taking responsibly for her own health, Sue discovered that she had been living undiagnosed with HIV/AIDS and was able to begin treatment immediately. Sue then completed her GED and got an entry level job as a cook in a fast food restaurant. Four years later, she works for the same company in a management position. She is active in the AA community and has recently celebrated four years sober. She has purchased her own car and lives in her own apartment. Sue continues to be involved in Heather House offering support and mentoring to current residents. She is asset to the community and is truly a miracle.
Ashley had a drug and alcohol problem which she had struggled with for years. As a result of her addiction, she lost custody of her son and was homeless. While with us she got a job that she has held for two years. After completing our program Ashley moved into her own apartment and bought a vehicle. Shortly after, she regained custody of her son and is enrolled to begin college this summer. She is involved in the AA community and the women at Heather House. Ashley recently celebrated 2 years sober.
Nicki was taken from her family at the age of fifteen because they were plagued with drug and alcohol abuse and placed by the state in a treatment facility. She completed the program at age seventeen and was released to her family. After her family wanted to celebrate with drugs and alcohol, Nicki realized she could not live at home. Through the generosity of members of Alcoholics Anonymous, Nicki was able to stay in sober homes until coming to Heather House. She was in high school at the time and was able to graduate earlier than expected. With diploma in hand, Nicki was able to secure a job with advancement opportunities. She learned how to drive while at Heather House and got her driver's license while at the house. Currently Nicki lives on her own, has her own vehicle, and is in her fifth year of sobriety. Nicki is active in the AA community and participates in Heather House functions.
Ferst Foundation for Childhood Literacy
We do not have ongoing contact with our clients and the program is just getting to the point where we can begin to pull data from the school system to measure the possible impact of the program. However we were encouraged recently, at a McDonalds Family Fun night, when we met several families (children & parents) who receive Ferst books each month. We were giving books away at McDonalds to any child who wanted one. The children who we met, who are registered in the program, were so excited to tell us which books they already had, which ones were their favorites and they even offered to read a few books to us. It was an experience that reinforced that in some way, though maybe not measurable at this point, Ferst books going into these homes are making a difference and having an impact.
Glynn Community Crisis Center, Inc.
Amity House/Hope House:
It is difficult to describe the chaotic state the individuals we serve present with and the overwhelming barriers they face to living successful, independent lives. By the time our clients make the decision to seek our help, the situation is many times a critical emergency. Rebuilding lives after many years of abuse requires, first, providing for basic needs: safe shelter, food, transportation to work and school, clothing, medical help, and a telephone to reach family and friends. Only then can the work of rebuilding lives begin.Two such stories are illustrated here:
This is the second attempt for a young mother of a 4 year old to rebuild her life. Her first attempt ended with a return to the abuser; the abuse escalated. By the time our client presented again, she had lost the job that provided support for her and her child, and her car was being impounded for nonpayment of the insurance. She and her child moved into our shelter to receive not only basic support, but also counseling, parenting support, child care and transportation support. The Center made arrangements to pay the car insurance and remove the car from impoundment. Her case manager worked with her to find new employment, develop a budget and find the resources necessary to live independently with her child. The aftercare case management will ensure that our client knows how to manage her family’s safety, and the weekly group counseling sessions will provide emotional support to ensure long term stability of her situation.Another client came into the shelter after her husband had been abusive for a number of years. She has five children but came into the shelter alone and not speaking or understanding much English. She did have a job which is what kept here sane most days. The first support we were able to provide was to gain custody of the two youngest children with the help of the school social worker and the school. Our client’s husband had taken all of her papers and identification and hidden them from her. We went to her job, got a copy of her papers from them and went from there. We started the process of obtaining her a special VISA through an immigration attorney. Her case manager obtained a divorce lawyer who handled the divorce and child custody issues. Our client is now financially independent enough to pay this lawyer on her own. With our help, she presented in court with a translator and received custody of four of her children, and the abuser received strict visitation rights. She and the children received the rights to the house. They now live together in the house where the children grew up: her husband had to leave and find a new place to live.She is an ongoing student at LARC learning to better speak and understand English. Her case manager taught her to read her bills so that she knows how to pay them, and all utilities are now in her name. As soon as she is improves her English, we will try for a driver's license. She and her children are an ongoing work in progress, but definitely a success story.
Coastal Coalition for Children, Inc.
Healthy Families has played a vital role in our community. We have had the opportunity to provide services within the Glynn/McIntosh community for over 16 Years. We have promoted positive parenting skills utilizing educational materials thus preventing child abuse. Healthy Families has a proven track record of success stories. However, I am compelled to share the testimony of Sue.
Sue was a victim of child abuse. She was a survival of emotional and physical abuse. Sue was very frightened when she became pregnant at 18 years old. She feared being a single parent that lacked family support. She had many fears relating to parenting. She reported often wondering if she would continue the cycle of abuse. She feared not being a “Good Parent.” Sue was in desperate need of positive parenting due to her past childhood experiences.
Sue was introduced to our program while in the local hospital by our Assessment Worker. Sue reported the experience as a “Safe Haven.” She was assigned to a Family Support Worker who made weekly home visitations. Our Family Support Worker shared with Sue educational literature relating to positive parenting and modeled positive behaviors. Sue began to practice positive parenting skills. It became evident that she was bonding with her baby. Her knowledge about child development was expanding. She reported her views about parenting transforming. Weekly activities were performed. Sue actively participated in the activities. She enjoyed doing activities with her child. Sue took pride in being a parent. The Family Support Worker reported Sue very nurturing towards her child.
Our Family Support Worker assisted Sue in creating family goals. The Support Worker utilized an Individual Family Support Plan to guide the family in obtaining goals. Sue was linked to the local college for continuation of education and local bank for employment. Sue remained in the program until she completed her Degree and got married. She has 3 additional children. She has reported using the knowledge gain through this program to assist with her additional children thus breaking the cycle of child abuse. She has been gained the ability to be self sufficient.
Sue continues to work at the local bank. She recently called the support worker again to thank her for her patience and concern. She has been very thankful for Healthy Families Program. She remains an advocacy for the Healthy Families Program. She has demonstrated her support by participating in speaking engagements within the community and referring others to our program.
Communities In Schools of Glynn County, Inc: Focus Graduation
During the 2009-2010 SY, two students (one from each school site) were expelled from their campuses. To keep these students on track with their classes and motivated to stay in school, Jill Mitchell-Berg has gotten permission to enroll these students into the Georgia Department of Education Virtual School. Their commitment to participate in this alternative learning environment will show they are responsible individuals. 2) Another FG student who was on a behavior contract but doing fairly well in his classes was involved in a situation with another student, which resulted in referrals for them both. The FG student (since he was on a behavior contract), was in danger of being expelled. Instead of being expelled, Jill Mitchell-Berg was able to suggest intense FG interaction as an alternative. The FG student has since then promised he would not get into any more trouble, and has kept his promise to us. This ninth grade student will be able to now begin his 10th grade year with a “clean slate” and the opportunity to benefit further from his personal growth.
Coastal Medical Access Project
Alice completed the Alive & Lively CMAP program that Glynn County offered to diabetic employees. When her doctor reviewed her records, Alice’s A1C readings had improved from an average 8.7 to 7.4 while she was participating in the CMAP program. Her doctor said, “I don’t know what this CMAP program is doing, but whatever it is, you are doing great and need to keep up the good work!”Alice said, “They don’t judge and they don’t preach. Instead they teach. The variety of education covered all areas of health and well being. The whole person was covered from head to toe, inside and out. I hope that more employees could be educated by CMAP about this chronic disease as they will become better individuals, better family members and ultimately better employees.”
Jerry delivers pizza and enjoys eating pizza. He has been a patient of the CMAP doctors for three years and purchases his medications through MedBank. Jerry began having trouble chewing pizza and everything else. After a while, soup was all he could eat.
Jerry learned that CMAP was offering dental care at the clinic, and he was able to make an appointment. Dr. Jeff Capes, a volunteer dentist, evaluated Jerry and found that he needed most of his teeth extracted. CMAP then found a volunteer orthodontist who made free dentures for Jerry.It was a long process requiring several visits over four months, but Jerry is now able to eat pain free.
Angela is a regular CMAP clinic patient who also participates in the Alive & Lively program. Her autistic son lives with her, and she has little time or money to spend on herself. Angela’s health is improving, but her CMAP story is just a little different from the others.
CMAP Alive & Lively staff members feel that it is important to know as much as possible about the needs of each patient, and they really get to know regular clients in the program. A staff member learned that Angela had not had her hair styled in 30 years. Now that may seem to be a small thing, but we all know when you look better, you often feel better.So the staff nominated Angela and she was selected for a free makeover – cut, color, the works! Angela was more than pleased with the result, and she is happy that her long lock of hair was donated for use in making cancer patient wigs.
Americas Second Harvest of Coastal Georgia Feeding America
One of our bags goes to a 91 year old woman who lives by herself. She has daily home health services and is on a fixed income of $266. Although many of our bags are picked up at various sites, her bag is delivered to her. Every time she gets it she says, “Right in the nick of time.”
One lady delivers 16 bags and qualifies for one. She says the food is a Godsend at the end of the month. She watches her grandchildren after school every day for her daughter who cannot afford afterschool care. Thanks to the Brown Bags, she can fix them an afternoon snack. For example, she uses applesauce to make them tea cakes.
Due to the efforts of a CASA volunteer, who was advocating for an infant removed from her home due to child abuse, a fit relative was identified who adopted the child. The mother of the child did not know which of two brothers was the father; the mother had a substance abuse problem. The child was removed at one year with a broken elbow. Both potential fathers were later incarcerated, and the mother did not meet minimum acceptable standards for reunification in two years. Glynn County DFCS had not been able to identify any family member that was fit for placement; they anticipated that when the parental rights of the mother were terminated, that this child would be offered for adoption but remain in foster care until/if someone offered to adopt. Our CASA advocate researched the family issue, and found a second cousin in Atlanta, who, two years after this little girl was removed from her abusive home, was adopted into a safe and loving one!
A mother, who had already lost custody of two children, had a third child removed at birth in the summer of 209 due to her drug use, unfit home, and inappropriate relationships. This mother has been not only receiving services from DFCS, but has been closely monitored by her CASA advocate. This mother has been visiting for two hours each week for 10 months at CASA, and is now transitioning to overnight visitation at her home, has a job for the first time in her life, and is on course for reunification with her daughter.
Mary House Ministries
Mary House daycare and Learning Center: A former student of Mary House graduated as a child and continued her education and now has started her first year teaching in the public school system. The center has also cared for her oldest child and her youngest is enrolled as a student now. A few of our former parents have informed us that once their child attends pre-k or kindergarten the teachers are impressed at their knowledge and the parents credits Mary House for their child 's success.
YWCA of Brunswick
YWCA Child Care Scholarship Program
The child care center responded to an emergency situation of a young couple with a six month old child. The mother of the child was from another country and they visited her family to show the child to her family. Upon preparing to return to the States, the mother was not allowed to leave the country. The father had to return alone with the baby to save his job. Needless to say, he was desperate to find child care and have the assurance the child would be safe. It took almost six months of red tape before the mother was able to return to her family. She arrived just in time to celebrate her daughter’s first birthday and to see her take her first steps. The family was most appreciative of the support and care that our child care staff provided during this most stressful time. The family continues to use the YWCA’s programs and the little girl is now enrolled in our summer camp.
Mother and child moved to this area after the death of her husband/father of the child. Before the father’s untimely death, the little girl was in child care and now was missing the interaction with other children to play with during the daytime. The mother did not need fulltime care but did want her daughter to have the opportunity to be with other children. The YW’s childcare center worked out a part time schedule with the Mother r and is providing a fun and consistent environment while she is learning to cope with the many changes in her young life.
Okefenokee Area Council, Boy Scouts of America:
The Salvation Army
Salvation Army Social Services
A lady came in February 5th for help with rent. Her husband has not worked in about 9 months. He has cancer and may have to have a major operation. He was having a biopsy that day. She is working, but does not make enough to pay all the bills. She has to take off work to take husband to doctor visits and does not get paid. Her husband has applied for applied for disability so that he can get Medicaid. He has no insurance. They live in an older mobile home and their power is very high. She is 3 ½ months behind on rent and 2 months behind on power. She was about to get evicted from and her and power is about to be turned off. We paid her power bill out of the Project Share account and caught up her rent with funds from the Siebel Grant. She was very appreciative and left crying because she was so happy.
A young lady came into the office May 4, 2009. Her husband had left her and her 5 children. All the utility bills and rent was behind. She had recently lost her job, but she had a new job to start in one week. We paid her rent through the Siebel Grant. She called me the next week to tell me that she was at work and was doing find. She thanked me again for the help.
The Salvation Army
Salvation Army Emergency ShelterThere is one girl staying in our shelter. She has started her own house cleaning business and is in the process of getting an apartment.
We don’t hear from the clients when they leave the shelter. Sometimes they maycome by, but not often.
Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia Inc.
Girl ScoutsOne girl who is mentally challenged and cannot read has been in a Girl Scout troop for the past several years and attended Day Camp as well. This year she is attending Day Camp “helping out” with the older girls. She has also helped out all year long with a troop of younger girls. A troop of hearing impaired girls have been able to go on field trips, and participate fully in Girl Scouting. Their leader has even taught them how to swim (normally hearing impaired children can’t participate in traditional swim classes because they can’t hear instructions. )
Golden Isles Children’s Center, Inc.
Forensic Interviewer/Prevention Education
Hannah R. is a 12 year old who had been repeatedly sexually molested by her live-in uncle since she was seven years old. When she came to the Children’s Center a year ago, her behavior was aggressive; she was very angry and failing most of her classes in school. Since counseling, she has been kind, inquisitive, and doing well in school. She no longer lashes out at other family members in anger and is perceived as a role model to her peers. She is one of the young girls who will be starting our Princess Group in July 2010 and is motivated to lead other young girls in crafting. Her enthusiasm to take the lead in the Princess Group is a successful beginning towards her recovery from child sexual abuse. A compelling forensic interview led to the arrest and prosecution of her uncle.
A forensic interview revealed Jose K. is an 11 year old boy was being sexually abused by his father and severely physically abused by a neighbor. When he came to the Children’s Center a year ago, he had failed two grades, had very low self-esteem, and would not talk about his feelings to anyone. After seeing our therapist, he has excelled on recent CRCT’s and was sponsored to attend a soccer camp. An article was published in the Brunswick Newspaper concerning his trials and success. Although, he is no longer in counseling, the Center has maintained a relationship by following-up on his progression in school. He continues to thrive and is becoming healthier mentally and physically day by day.
Hospice of the Golden Isles, Inc. [HGI]:
The Jolley House Residential Hospice FacilityWithin our residential Hospice Jolley House “community”, we had the privilege of serving a female cancer patient who had no assets, no one who could care for her round the clock, who lived out in the country by herself in a small home that had been vandalized, whose husband was in a nursing home, had no way to pay for her care and was dying. We were there for her and she joined our Jolley House community. In the last months of her life, we gave her the medical care she needed, reduced her pain, gave her a home, safety, and surrounded her with people who loved her and became her extended family. She rapidly became one of those giving, loving people who reached out and helped other patients and their family members with her love and kindness. She died in our facility with little pain, dignity, peace and love.
Our residential hospice patients so often become like family to the other patients in our facility. While we are reducing their pain, helping them to obtain medical benefits, and giving them a safe, loving environment, they are often also building their own relationships with the other residents. This was the case with a Jolley House patient who befriended another resident. When his friend died, he used what little money he had to go to a florist. He dragged himself through the door to order flowers for his friend’s funeral. Of course, we were with him and brought him back home with us here at the Hospice. It was a wonderful example of the love in this “community” Hospice our patients often have for each other and we for them.
Special Olympics of Coastal Georgia
For Brandon, focusing on one specific task and following through is a very difficult goal. As a 9 year old with Autism he has difficulty focusing and can be quite resistant to any type of change or challenge. Before he was a Bronze medal winning Swimmer his family and teachers had difficulty teaching him to follow through with a challenging task. It took Brandon 8 weeks to train for Georgia State Summer Games but he loved the water and formed a great bond with his Coach and his teammates. At Emory University after competing in his first competitive race he earned a sixth place ribbon to which he shouted from the medal stand “I won! I Won!” a few hours later he was awarded the Bronze medal for being the third leg of a fantastically swam 4X25M relay team. For Brandon to focus on competing in a team relay, and to complete a race in a crowded venue with so many distractions, was amazing! Special Olympics not only gave Brandon the opportunity to experience sports and compete but it also allowed him to show himself and everyone else what it is to succeed!
Arnold, a normally somber young man, stood atop the medal stand with a Gold Medal draped around his neck and couldn’t stop smiling. After being in group homes and foster care his whole life he had learned to stay quiet and keep his head down, this would prevent people from knowing that he was different. His Intellectual disability was enough that he couldn’t go to school with the “normal” kids but he always wanted to play sports with them. When his social worker suggested Special Olympics he was reluctant to draw attention to himself by joining, but he didn’t want to disappoint, so he joined the Bocce ball team. Brandon practiced day after day preparing for the upcoming games with 3 others in his group home. After a few weeks his coach discovered his soft spoken voice and calm manner was very useful in helping the other players learn the rules and techniques of the game. He soon found himself the team Captain of a sport that he had never heard of, preparing to go to a State Competition in Statesboro, GA. He was nervous and worried about the responsibility of leading his team but week after week he encouraged his teammates and came up with new ways for them to practice and improve. When he and his teammates arrived at their hotel they were over whelmed. None of them had ever stayed in a hotel before; the bathroom even had a television which was the most amazing thing to all of them! The next day Arnold calmly led his team out to the Bocce field and they started the rapid ascent to the top players. With his quiet encouragement and calming manner he led his team to an undefeated Gold medal victory in their division! His smile on that platform was wide and amazed. He radiated confidence and pride. The medal he won was proof that not only could he lead others, but that he was just as capable as the students he had once envied. The experience with Special Olympics boosted his self-esteem and self-worth and he mainstreamed into the local high school and was adopted shortly after. For Arnold, all he needed was the opportunity to prove that he could achieve great things. Special Olympics had the privilege to provide him with that opportunity.
Boys & Girls Club of Southeast Georgia:
Marquis is teen who has overcome it all. When Quis was a freshman in high school his mother became addicted to crack cocaine. He had to miss school to take care of his younger brother. Due to his truancy, the school system sent him to Risley Alternative. Since his freshmen year of school his mother has been in and out of rehab for her addiction. Marquis joined the Boys & Girls Club about three years ago, at that time his mother had decided to try and get sober. She was teaching a Narcotics Anonymous class and getting herself back on the right track. Quis was at the Boys & Girls Club everyday working on strengthening his character and building supportive relationships with both staff and peers. Things were going great and we began to see a future leader emerging in Marquis. About 6 months ago, Marquis' mother relapsed. Because of the character Marquis had acquired, he stayed strong and admitted his mother into rehab. Despite the absence of his mother, Marquis has overcome the odds and graduated high school. He has transformed from a teen club member to a club staff. He has done tremendous things for our club and both the children and teens look up to him. He is a great role model for youth today and we are very proud of him.
Brendon has been a member of the Boys & Girls club for over a decade. He calls this place his second home. Brendon is an amazing young man. He is the most dedicated, positive, and well mannered person you will meet. Brendon has been faced with many obstacles throughout his life. His father left when he was young and his mother was left to raise him and his siblings by herself. She got involved with drugs, alcohol, and was even victim to an abusive relationship. When Brendon was younger, he witnessed his mothers arrest for selling marijuana. Brendon started out on the wrong path. He would steal just to get food on the table. Brendon found a good suppport system and began working his way back to the top only to be hit with more bad news; his mother had a brain tumor. He had to step up as the man of the house because he was the oldest and most responsibel. At age 16, Brendon reentered the Boys & Girls Club. He began spending time with teens here and volunteering with the younger children. His commitment to the Club and new attitude about life earned him the title of Southeast Georgia's Youth of the Year. Brendon has transformed into an outstanding citizen. He is working two jobs to help take care of his mother and family. He has been forced to grow up fast but has done a great job. We consider Brendon family and are happy that he has chosen to call Boys & Girls Club home. His story has motivated others to strive for excellence.
Zecheriah and Jaxavion are two six year old boys who have already been to 3 different foster homes. These boys are bundles of energy that get extremely excited about coming to the Boys & Girls Club. When these two started they had negative attitudes, loved to push to get to the front or first, and would run full speed everywhere they went. These young men have transformed into sweet young men. Zecheriah loves to be a helper and Jaxavion is a regular environmentalist; helping to clean the ground daily. Both boys now walk in and follow instructions just as they are asked. Zecheriah has made such an impression that his foster mother adopted him this year. We are so excited for him and excited to hear that she is in the process of getting legal custody of Jaxavion too. For two boys who didn't have a permanent home a year ago, they have come a long way in such a short time.
Hannah Christmas is a loyal member who can be recognized for coming out of her shell. She has become very confident during her duration at the Boys & Girls Club. Hannah has lived with her grandfather since she was a toddler. Her mother was not fit to take care of her and father was not in the picture. Hannah began as a shy and reserved member. She never really enjoyed coming at first and would rather be at home or at work with her grandfather. Today Hannah is a different young girl. She greets all of the staff and has a core group of friends. She asks to be a helper and hates when it is time to leave. It is very rewarding to see stories like these. We love that through our program children are able to emerge as wonderful young leaders.A nine year old member of the club, who has been attending since she was six, experienced the trauma of witnessing her father try to murder her mother. The father was convicted of attempted murder and is currently in jail. Not only has this event ripped apart her nuclear family, her aunts, cousins, but two siblings have had to move to another state due to the economic implications of the loss of an income. As a result, this young girl has gone from having her entire family together to being alone with a mother who is still recovering emotionally from the incident.The mother had asked her daughter to not repeat the story to teachers or anyone else. However, one day, the young girl asked to speak privately to the unit director of the club because she was “really sad” and felt she had “no one to talk to.” After listening to the girl tell her story, the unit director asked her to try and think of some “good things” she could focus on. Her response was “coming to the club”.Despite everything this young girl has witnessed and experienced, she continues to be well behaved at the club and respectful of staff and peers. She is a success story in the sense that she is a survivor, but she has also rejuvenated the unit director’s passion for her line of work and reminded the director why she is here in the first place. In other words, not only has the club been a blessing to her…she has been a blessing to the club and staff.
(7/11) Mallory M. was born with cerebral palsy which has confined her to a walker for her whole life. At school Mallory is in the singing choir called “Singing Dolphins” and is an A/B Honor Roll Student. Mallory started attending the St.Simons Island Boys & Girls Club two years ago. Even with her walker, Mallory still loves to go outside and play with all of her friends. Since she started the Boys & Girls Club she has made many friends and has become much more confident and outgoing. We love having Mallory at our Club because she is always in a great mood and has a smile on her face.
(7/11) Here at the McIntyre Court Unit of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Georgia, we have two students who have shown outstanding character and have been model students for their peers. The first one is Jasemine Akra who is with us for the first time this summer. Jasemine is a 10 year old student who is always willing to do whatever it takes to make activities run smoothly. She assists in the kitchen area during preparation and cleans up. She has also been a big help with the smaller children and shows great compassion when the need arises. Jasemine is one of four siblings who attends the club and has proven to be the most level headed one of all.
The second one is Jerry Sandoval. Jerry was with us last summer during our camp and continues to show good sportsmanship. Jerry is a 12 year old student who other male students frequently imitate. When a language barrier gets in the way of me and some of the parents or students, Jerry is right there to assist in the translation. Jerry is also eager to help in any way that he can to ensure things are running smoothly. Both of these students are a plus to the club.
(7/11) Alicia Wooden, a 10 year old student at Burroughs-Mollette Elementary School, was born with Cerebral Palsy. She loves spending time on the computer as well as practicing her writing. Despite her handicap, Alicia has not allowed any obstacles to prohibit her from participating in programs and activities throughout the day. Alicia fits in and has won the hearts of everyone at the club. Moving from the wheelchair to a walker was quite an accomplishment. Alicia lives with her grandmother who struggles to give her a normal life. Alicia’s grandmother tells us everyday what a difference attending the Glynnvilla Boy & Girls Club has made in Alicia’s life.
(7/11) Devonta Brantley is a Senior at Brunswick High school. As a young man Devonta struggled with controlling his temper, fighting, respect for others and even stealing. He blames these struggles on his inability to not follow what his friends were doing. Growing up he needed someone or something to keep him out of this crowd of people leading him in that negative direction. As he grew older he became responsible enough to search for that help. 2 years ago he discovered the ECTC. The Teen Center gave him exactly what he needed a place to be himself, but also keep him away from the negative crowd. He now works at the Teen Center in Refuel. He is now on the Honor roll at school and is set graduate on time with his class. He says “If it were not for coming here every day, I would be hanging out with my old friends and getting in trouble a lot.” He feels today that if he had not made that decision to look for help and look for a different group of friends there is no way that he would be graduating on time. His story is that of a young man who realized a change in his life was needed and was responsible enough to look for help making that change. We are extremely proud that he chose the teen center to help him with this task and are so proud of where he is now going.
(7/11) Gabbi Benton has been a member of the Elizabeth F. Correll Teen Center since it opened in August of 2009. In those two years Gabbi has become a leader in every sense of the word. She is President of the Center’s Teen Advisory Group, the head of the Teen Center’s Relay for Life Committee and an important part of the Refuel staff. When school starts in August, Gabbi will head into the 11th grade at Brunswick High School where she is ranked number one in her class with a grade point average of 4.2. After High School Gabbi would like to attend the University of Georgia and major in early childhood education.