Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Boys & Girls Clubs honor Youth of the Year

Every day, the Boys and Girls Clubs help hundreds of Tulsa area youth. The Clubs have 5,231 members who come from diverse backgrounds.  These kids will spend hours at the Clubs, working on their homework, learning how to play sports, studying for their ACT tests.  Many of them have gone on to become doctors, lawyers, journalists, professional athletes and community leaders. 
Our club directors and staff are proud of their members and will honor a youth who stands out above the rest.  On March 15th, we will celebrate these kids at the Youth of the Year Banquet.  A member from each of the seven Boys & Girls Clubs (North Mabee, Mabee Red Shield, West Mabee, Broken Arrow, Sand Springs, Sapulpa and Muskogee) will receive an award. Three teenagers will compete for the Youth of the Year award, the highest honor a Club member can achieve.

The winner will receive a $2,500 scholarship. The second and third place finishers will also receive scholarships. Last year’s winner, Alex Walker from Broken Arrow, went on to win the state competition.

We’re looking for sponsors for this wonderful event so we can give scholarships to more of these students. Again, the Youth of the Year banquet is March 15th at 6pm at the Allen Chapman Activity Center on the University of Tulsa campus.  Individual tickets to this event are $50.
If you want to find out more about the banquet or the Boys & Girls Clubs, contact me at or 918-587-7801 ext. 121.


Monday, February 27, 2012

Marines work out at BA club

Their assignment has changed from hiking treacherous mountain terrain and dodging gunfire in Afghanistan to dodging senior citizens in the pool at the Broken Arrow Boys & Girls Club. They are the TOW Section 1st Battalion 25th Marines and they’ve been home from Afghanistan for about three weeks. “When they’re sitting on the bleachers waiting for their turns to swim laps they are perfectly lined up. It gives me cold chills just to see that kind of discipline,” said Janis Fraley, BA club director. They landed in the club because their leader, Gunnery Sergeant Kyle Provencher, was a club member as a child. He played on the BA football team while in the third, fourth and fifth grades. His primary memory of the club is of a former staff member, Levi Law, the older brother of Jake Law, the Sapulpa Boys and Girls Club director. These Marines will be home for six months before another deployment.They work out together every day to stay combat fit and ready to work as a team. BA Lifeguard Donna Burdick said it "lifts her spirits" when the Marines walk in the door. Thank you Gunnery Sgt. Provencher and the 1st Battalion 25th Marines for serving our country.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

TSA gave them warmth


Dear Salvation Army,

Thank you so very much for paying my husband's and my O.N.G. bill. It was much appreciated by us. May God bless the good work you do for total strangers. We are grateful you gave us the gift of warmth for another month.


Diane & Wayne

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

TAUW meeting outstanding

Hollywood has its Academy Awards. TV has its Emmys and Broadway has its Tonys. But we had the award winning and award-giving Tulsa Area United Way (TAUW) Annual Meeting Tuesday and the Tulsa Convention Center was packed with Tulsa’s most giving people and organizations. I was privileged to sit at a table from Area Command and the Citadel. In 2004, I worked for TAUW as a loaned executive so I knew that TAUW is one of the most outstanding United Ways in the country. I just never knew why. “We are the United Way,” CEO Mark Graham said. “When we look around the room we see people who look like the people in our annual report who have received services from a United Way agency,” Mark said. That’s because we are the same. So it’s the spirit of equality and collaboration that puts us near or on the top of United Ways nationwide. Here are the stats that show how our TAUW stacks up against those in other cities: There are 1,242 United Ways in the U.S. At more than $24 million, TAUW raises more money than 1,209 of them. Our fundraising surpasses cities such as Fort Worth, Tampa and Portland. Our United Way is first in the nation for in support from small businesses. We’re among the top United Ways in the amount of money given by non-profits, like The Salvation Army. Tulsa non-profits gave $840,000 last year. The thousands of people TSA serves are grateful for us although we don’t always hear from them. Check out the blog tomorrow for one person who let us know.


Friday, February 17, 2012

Coach Carey wins halftime

Six Boys & Girls Clubs with games and events every week. The largest homeless shelter in Northeast Oklahoma. A myriad of social services at the shelter. A huge volunteer program. I can’t keep up with it all, so I’m delighted when co-workers and officers let me know about things they’ve attended. I received the below in my e-mail this week. Thank you Captain Gesner!

Dear Sallie,

On a recent Sunday, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Tulsa had an opportunity to attend a Tulsa 66ers basketball game. While in attendance, Sand Springs' Athletic Director, Patrick Carey, was asked to participate in a half-time challenge. The 66ers offered to give the winner of a competition a luxury suite to another 66ers game if they could make a lay-up, free-throw and 3-point shot within 24 seconds. The participant would only have one ball and would have to rebound after their own shot.
Patrick sank the lay-up easily and proceeded to make his free-throw. But, time was winding down, and he only had 8 seconds left to get to the three point line and attempt a couple of three-point shots. Patrick told me, "I knew that by the time I set up, I would only have about 5 seconds to shoot. So, I knew I'd only get one shot at it. I waited till the last second, shot the ball up and.....nothing but net!!!" Patrick won the competition and represented The Salvation Army well. Attached is a picture of him doing the Tim Tebow Te-"bow" at center court. At the far right hand side, you can see his wife and kids' faces of surprise and pride!
In His Service,

Captain Patrick Gesner

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

West Mabee cooks Cajun

Hershey’s Hugs. Mr. Goodbar bites. Sweet Tarts. Chocolate cupcake. If you’re thinking, wow, kids really eat a lot of sweets on Valentine’s Day, you would be right, but actually I am the one who ate the above. So it was a treat to eat fresh-cooked gumbo and jambalaya when I visited the West Mabee Boys & Girls Club yesterday. West Mabee director Jamar Giddings said he came up with the Cajun menu as an antidote to all the sweets the kids had eaten at school. To celebrate Valentine’s Day at the club, eight kids in the Tuesday cooking class cooked and served the meal to the rest of the kids, a group of about 20. The class is learning about cooking, serving and etiquette. “Etiquette is all over the place,” Jamar said. Safety is too. As they are cooking, Jamar went over some of the rules. “Where are we when we’re cooking?” he asked. “At our stations!” the kids shouted. They learned how to simmer and slant their spoons when stirring. They learned how to salt food lightly and how to tell when rice is done. They stuck plastic spoons in their pots and took a taste. They know they can’t stick the spoon in again, so should they throw their spoons away? “Save them for later,” Jamar said. “We’re not Emeril yet.” Thanks to Jamar, Mia Hannah, Yakala Sharpe, Michael McHenry, Kevin Lovell, Nolan Walters, Destini Richard, Edward Gaston and Journey Jacobs for my most scrumptious Valentine’s Day gift! -Sallie


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine’s Day

Love One Another

Psalm 139:14: I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.

Genesis 1:27: So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

I got a great tip this week from the e-newsletter. I was reminded that “I” is a subject pronoun and “me” is an object pronoun. Two pronouns are used in two ways to describe who I am; the English language can be confusing. Let’s not get confused about who we are. You are not who other people say you are; you are not a consumer swayed by every TV commercial. You are not just a reflection of your parents, friends or colleagues, not just an employee, parent or friend.You are uniquely handcrafted by God, Himself.

Psalm 139 says that God knit you together. The truth is, we are all part of a divine creation which God said is “very good” (Genesis 1:31). Listen to what else He said. He said, “love

one another as I have loved you” (John 13:34). Then let’s love each other and be good to each other. Take a new look at the person holding the “will work for food sign,” the rude co-worker, the needy child or hurtful friend. See them for who God made them to be. Look deeper, and see their better half. Can you see that they are hurting and need your help? While the world goes to war over natural resources like oil and gas, The Salvation Army hunts for more of the best natural resource: people. Every day with The Salvation Army people express love by serving others. Together, with thousands of local volunteers the Tulsa Area Salvation Army is able to

feed the hungry , house the homeless , teach dance classes , music lessons and art classes , coach sports teams, train up children and build a better community , help families pay their utility bills.

Remember, you are exactly who God made you to be, and we would be honored for you to join us in “Doing The Most Good.”To get involved: e-mail the Volunteer Coordinator or call 918-587-7801 x113


Friday, February 10, 2012

A Year of Dance

Kids from the Monday evening dance class
get together after seeing a performance of
"So You Think You Can Dance?"
The case managers at the Center of Hope were dealing with an irony. The parents of children staying in the family apartments needed to learn better parenting and life skills. But what would the children do while their parents were in a class? The case managers wanted to provide the children something more productive than putting them in front of a movie. Some parents worked during the day, so the only time to hold the class was in the evenings. The only time a classroom was available was on Mondays.

Around the same time, Maria Stevenson was looking for a way to give back to her community. She grew up taking dance classes and was influenced to give back by her social-worker father. She wanted to provide children living in the Center of Hope a “normal childhood experience.” For a year, Maria has taught a Monday evening dance class for the kids whose parents are in life skills class. “I get to see strength, passion, laughter and dedication shine through in young adults who are not in ideal circumstances,” Maria said. 

“It reminds me that strength and happiness are not found in situations but in state of mind.” 
As the volunteer coordinator, it’s very gratifying to see a need met so perfectly. And I know God has many more good works in store for each of us to humbly carry out. Ephesians 2:8-10 says: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

Yours in Faith,

P.S. Special thanks to Kelley Maricle & Ronn Glosson (Center of Hope Staff) and the following community partners who support the dance class: Tulsa Area United Way Women's Leadership Council , Tulsa Shock , BOK Center , Brad Griffin with BOSC, Ashley Farthing with Farthing Events , South Tulsa Dance Company and STDC competition team, Jenks Dance Academy, Black and Pink Supplies , Joe Momma’s Tulsa , University of Tulsa – Hurricane Sports Properties and volunteers Angela Turkovich, Cory Wallace, Heather Fick, Jessica Rhodes, Kilee Hammer, Maranda Figueroa, and Courtney Borgard.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Lucky ducks in Sapulpa

Theresa Bowers, Sapulpa
Athletic Director
Basketball is special at the Sapulpa Boys & Girls Club. You could even call it ducky. But first a story. Where I grew up, we waited until the seventh grade to play basketball. I expected to be good at it. Who cared if I was short and small? I was fast. But I may not have been any good. I certainly couldn’t guard or shoot. The gym teacher told me she wanted me to play a special position called The Rover. “The Rover just goes where she is needed,” Miss Waddell said. So I ran all over the court, looking for someone who needed help. They were usually on my team. I had a great time. When I started going to basketball games in high school, I would ask friends if they had ever heard of the Rover position. They never had, probably because it didn’t exist, except in Miss Waddell’s mind. What a kind coach.

There are no Rovers in the Sapulpa Boys & Girls Club basketball program, but there are 850 kids and lately the stands have been packed. Club director Jake Law invented a fundraiser called “Toss a Duck, Win an IPad 2!” Theresa Bowers, athletic director, helps make it happen. At halftime, fans toss rubber ducks at a target on the court. The three fans who get their ducks closest to the bull’s eye get pop or candy and the winner gets his or her name in a drawing for a free IPad 2. Three IPad 2s will be given away and the people who win them will be some Lucky Ducks, but they’ll never be The Rover. Only I got to be The Rover. 


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Sportsmen feed homeless

OK, I admit I was not looking forward to trying a venison taco at 9 a.m. The last venison I had eaten was tough and gamey. But as soon as got a whiff of the Good Day Tulsa studio at KTUL Tulsa’s Channel 8, I knew this was a different story. It smelled divine. It was being cooked with red peppers, yellow peppers, and lots of onions and seasonings. Scott Leysath, the Sporting Chef, cooked the venison on Good Day Tulsa and anchor Laura Moss and I enjoyed tacos afterward. Scott is in a show on the Sportsman Channel called “Hunt.Fish.Cook” . You can see it on Cox Communication’s Channel 270.

The channel has an organization called Hunt.Fish.Feed that collects game donated by hunters to feed the homeless. Scott cooked at the Center of Hope yesterday evening, and 450 meals were served. One enthusiastic guest came back for four extra helpings and there was still venison left over. Not to mention the additional 500 pounds of venison donated by Terry’s Taxidermy in OKC. It’s being stored in freezers at the Center of Hope. One of the best things about the Venison Taco event yesterday was the dozen or so volunteers from Cox who helped out. Tiffani Bruton from the Cox Connects Foundation and I were talking to another Sportman’s Channel star, Jeff Danker, who said serving homeless guests completely changed the way he looked at things. “I’m way too blessed,” he said. Me too, Jeff, me too.