Two-Month Update on the Boys & Girls Club

Painter Emily Clarke came down for an afternoon

Now that we are two months into the re-launch of the Boys & Girls Club, it definitely feels like we have gotten a lot better, especially from our Day 3 update. The leaders and members have become accustomed to a more regular routine, including designated times for homework, play, and specific programming.

I am excited that we were able to bring Marvin Love on staff earlier this month. Marvin is a teacher at Fairfax Elementary School, and someone whom Grace Church has been connected to for a while now. He is a member at Vision Ministries (with Pastor Joe Mole), and one of his plays was performed at Grace’s Pelham Road campus last fall. He brings Boys & Girls Club experience, plus strong leadership skills.

Some children who came early on have chosen to not return, or only sporadically. In most of these situations, they have stopped coming due to a “misunderstanding” of what the Club is about. Some members thought we were doing a sort of after school babysitting, and they could come in and do whatever they wanted. Marvin (even when he was just volunteering) let them know that this is not Burger King; “you CANNOT have it your way.”

We really have three general groups of kids who are members of the club:

  1. Over half of the kids that come regularly are really great. They follow directions (mostly), don’t have serious attitude issues, and try their best. 
  2. About 10% of the members are, well, poison. Major attitudes, don’t want to do schoolwork, physically aggressive (including at least 3 serious fights that we’ve had), and bully others.
  3. The rest (maybe 25-50%) are mostly good, but they caught up with negative attitudes and behaviors.

Where I feel tension is that the ones that most need to be a part of the club (the poison, group #2), are the ones who are most difficult. So I am torn. I want to help these kids so much, but when I have to spend 80% of my time and energy on dealing with these negative situations, it is not fair to the rest of the kids who also want my attention.

As much as I am a perfectionist, I have to realize that we’ll never have a “perfect day.” I have to remember that if 3 or 4 kids are horrible, but 50 have a good day, that’s a win. Our goal is not to eliminate all the bad, but to pour in positivity and hope.

As we begin to prepare for the summer (did I mention that it is an all-day program?), we’ll continue to do our best to minister to these kids, to balance what they might want with what we think they need.

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