Thursday, February 21, 2013

Meet Tweety Baldwin, Program Director

Kids lined up at Philbrook
I first noticed Latrica “Tweety” Baldwin at one of the Rock Philbrook events The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club holds every summer. A bunch of kids were standing in a long line waiting to get their bag lunches. There were three large boys who were starting to loudly roughhouse. A stylishly dressed, diminutive girl said about three words to them and they instantly hushed up and stood quietly in line. I thought she was a Boys & Girls Club kid, then later learned she was Program Director at the West Mabee Boys & Girls Club.

“The older boys respect me. All the kids respect me. I think they just fell in love with me,” Tweety told me recently. After getting her Associate’s degree in Fashion Design at Clary Sage College, Latrica attended TCC as an elementary education major. She needed to fulfill volunteer hours as part of TCC requirements, so she chose to volunteer at the West Mabee club. After a year of volunteering, club director Jamar Giddings asked her to be Program Director when the position came open.

“ I like to have fun with the kids,” she said. “The biggest challenge is the kids who don’t get along with each other. I always make them sit down and we play a board game together, like Pictionary or Monopoly. They end up laughing and having fun,” she said.

Latrica is the youngest of five children. She said her aunt gave her the nickname Tweety when she was born because she thought she had a big head and a little body, like the cartoon character Tweety bird. Latrica  is 23 years old and still aspires to be an elementary school teacher or have her own clothing store some day. Until then, the West Mabee kids seem glad to share their lives with a Tweety bird they can look up to, and I'm glad to get to know this small powerhouse who handles kids so well.  


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