“I like the Boys and Girls Club because of the activities and they make homework fun. After that, we get to write with crayons and make anything up. Sometimes we get to go outside. My teachers are very nice. I like to read. I am reading the Itsy Bitsy Spider right now.”
“I am a single mother and have four girls ages 14, 7, 5, and 4. When the Gilliard Boys and Girls Club started at our school, my oldest was the first handful of kids in the program. They pushed her to do her homework and her grades were better. She did leadership programs over the summers to keep her engaged and productive. She would have been bored with no activities. My daughter Rose is now in the club. She did the reading enhancement and came out of first grade reading on a third-grade level. She could have gotten behind in reading without it. Her homework is always done and her grades are always up. They put her in advanced classes for second grade next year.
I am a medical assistant and a CNA. Taking care of people is how I give back to the community. I work from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. I leave my house at 6:15 in the morning and don’t get home until 7:45 at night. Rose is at the Boys and Girls Club until 7 p.m. and gets a snack and hot meal. School is down the street and I know she is safe and getting the engagement she needs. The youngest two go to a good day care that is open for essential workers.
It has been a rough year. The Coronavirus makes work harder. My mother passed away a year ago. We just found out my fourteen year old has two brain tumors. She had a seizure at school and went to the hospital. The Boys and Girls Club was there and prayed and listened to me cry. They call to check on us and ask if I need anything and how can they help? They make sure I am striving and encourage me that it is going to be okay. We are a team raising my kids through the good and bad. Staff from the Boys and Girls Club are also at school during the day to check on the kids. If the kids are having behavior issues or falling behind, they address it right then.
Many single mothers and families need the Boys and Girls Club. Single mothers carry so much pressure. We also carry too much pride to say we need help, or ask for it. We are out of the house working 48 to 60 hours a week. We pray and get through. But the Boys and Girls Club provides other people with eyes on our kids who can see if something is wrong or a little off and do something to help. It doesn’t just help kids and school, it helps home life, too.
I dream of my kids going to college. I stay on all of them, no matter how much I work. We eat dinner together and make time for family. I don’t feed them McDonald’s or fast food. We pray in the car on the way to school. At the end of the day, we are all we have. I teach them to share kindness and give back. Kindness can brighten someone’s day.
My oldest daughter has seen me go to college twice. When one degree didn’t help me make enough money, I went back and got another degree to be a CNA. When my four year old goes to school, I am going back to school for nursing. My kids know we have to finish school. There is no perfect time in life to do anything. Just do it. My car tag just cost much more this year and wiped out the savings I was going to use for doing something this summer with my kids. Now I am working overtime to save up again. All you can do is push through and start back over.”
Our Southern Souls is partnering with the United Way of Southwest Alabama to raise $50,000 to get at least 2,020 kids off partner agencies’ waiting lists and into the programs they need. This will be more kids getting a Big Brother or Big Sister or into the Boys and Girls Clubs. More kids getting weekend backpack meals or fed through Feeding the Gulf Coast. It will help expand the Dolly Parton Imagination Library in Mobile County and provide free books for kids. It will provide shelter to a few more families with kids, and help a few more mothers with children get away from domestic violence.
To give, text “2020 Pledge” to 41444 or go to www.uwswa.org.