Monday, May 13, 2013

Celebrate Salvation Army Week by learning more about Boys & Girls Clubs!

What does The Salvation Army mean to kids and parents?
Roylee and his grandmother
This is Salvation Army Week and people are celebrating around the world.  At The Salvation Army Tulsa Area Command, one of the ways we are celebrating is to learn more about what The Salvation Army means to different people who use our services, volunteer with us or who are affected by The Savlation Army in other ways.

Friday,  I was at the Mabee Red Shield Boys & Girls Club for two events; the grand opening of their Cox Technology Center and  their Mothers Day Tea, so I got a chance to ask club members, their moms and grandmas about what the Mabee Red Shield Boys & Girls Club means to them.

“It does mean a lot,” Roylee, age 10 told me. “They call me out on stuff, help me with my homework, keep me active and give me a program. They are always nice,” he said. I think it says a lot that Roylee recognizes that getting “called out on stuff” is a positive thing. Any parent who wants to be “friends” with their child  take note!

Roylee’s grandmother, Sandra Gunnells, looks after Roylee’s younger siblings while he is at the club’s aftercare program and picks Roylee up every weekday. “Mabee Red Shield provides an outlet for Roylee. He can be rough and tough playing football and during baseball he pops, bats, runs and catches. It’s two different sports that develop different skills and keep him active,” Sandra said. She is also appreciative of the hygiene tips Roylee has picked up. “No more stinky pits,” is the way this down-to-earth grandma put it.

Brooklyn, age nine, is in the third grade at Lanier Elementary. She said she was surprised by the number of members (250) and Mabee Red Shield’s Boy Scout troop. She also was surprised by all the art activities when she first started at Mabee Red Shield. “ I like coming here and taking the art class. I like to draw and my favorite is drawing funny people,” Brooklyn said.

When I first saw Brooklyn at the club Friday I thought she was in a time out because she was seated by herself in the game room and was wearing a pout. I asked her about it. "No, I was feeling sad because I was missing my mom," she said. I think it's great that our Program Aides let Brooklyn take time out from activities to feel her feelings without being scolded or made fun of by the other kids.

Three people, three different views of what The Salvation Army means to them. We can’t be all things to all people, and don’t even try to be. But what we do, we do well, and helping children grow into adults is one of those things. -Sallie

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