There had to be 300 people there, from local civic leaders and business leaders to elected officials, community stakeholders and university trustees and coaches. They included Wanda Lewis and Rev. Clifford Jones, the Club’s executive director and CVO, respectively, along with staff and leadership from other nearby Boys & Girls Club organizations, as well as Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller and Auburn Mayor Bill Ham.
The Club's work with the University is a great example of community partnership in action. It includes a service learning program where Auburn students volunteer two-and-a-half hours a week tutoring Club members and helping with our homework help program, Power Hour. The university's work-study program, which places some students with part-time jobs at the Club, also allows the Club to extend staffing without increasing payroll. And the College of Human Sciences’ Women’s Philanthropy Board has partnered with the Club since 2010 to offer Real Cents, Real Change, a 12-month learning series to help teens understand financial and philanthropic responsibility.
Strong relationships with local education helped advance Club members' academic success. The school districts from both communities provide on-site liaisons, who coordinate tutoring and recruit volunteers, including retired teachers. This support has enabled the organization to increase its impact and its workforce to help kids do better at school.
To my mind, partnerships such as these in Lee County are prime examples of how Clubs can fulfill the three priority outcome areas of Academic Success, Good Character and Citizenship, and Healthy Lifestyles, the foundation of our Great Futures Impact Plan.
The day concluded by meeting with the National Leadership Congress, another national community-based organization that answered our call to assist in changing the dynamics for kids. Toby Warren leads this institution and believes deeply in our mission and vision.
It was a most eventful and productive visit with our friends in Lee County. I look forward to working in unison with them as we continue to strive to give our kids access to the great futures they deserve.