Posts Tagged ‘youth’

 

A distinguished panel of judges has selected a Salvation Army Central Oklahoma Boys & Girls Club member to be a part of Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s 2012 ImageMakers National Photography Contest.

Najahahn Jenkins’ photos Ghost” & “See Through in the Alternative and Digital categories respectively were selected along with 18 other photographs as a winner of the ImageMakers National Photography Contest from thousands submitted by aspiring young artists in Clubs and Youth Centers across the nation.

Josh Huling heads up the ImageMakers Program at The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club in Central Oklahoma.

“I am thrilled that Najahahn’s creativity and dedication are being recognized on a national level,” said Megan Brown-Ellis, unit director for The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club. “I am equally proud of Josh Huling and his now multi-award winning photography program.”

The ImageMakers National Photography Contest winners will be displayed at various Boys & Girls Clubs of America conferences and will be viewed by hundreds of conference delegates throughout the year.

”We aren’t surprised at the level of talent our kids have at the Club,” said Richard White, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club. “Najahahn is one of the shining stars of Josh Huling’s photography program at the Club. We are very proud of his accomplishments and that he will represent The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club on a national basis.”

A plaque and letter from Jim Clark, president and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of America will be presented to Jenkins.  In addition, the image will be placed on bgca.org in the virtual gallery for viewing in the future.

For the neediest children in Oklahoma County, the simple joys of a childhood summer may seem unattainable. These at-risk kids will spend their summer wandering the streets or hanging out with other idle kids… a recipe for trouble.

But The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma Area Command helps struggling local families avoid such an outcome for their children as The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma’s Boys & Girls Club summer day camp is in full swing.

The summer day camp, held from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Boys and Girls Club, 2808 SE 44th, runs through July 27. Already, more than 100 youth attend the club every day for activities like sports, outdoor recreation, computer lab, arts and crafts, reading, games and sports league practice.

Once a week, the youth also go to Eagle Harbor swimming pool and the Oklahoma City Boathouse, where they play on the playground and skate while the teens explore kayaking and canoeing.

“We are excited because we had full enrollment by May of this year for our summer camp,” said Megan Brown-Ellis, director of The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma Boys & Girls Club. “We have more than 80 children ages 6 to 11 years old as well as two teen programs, Club Teen and Junior Staff.”

Several other special events are slated for the June summer camp. These include:

  • June 6 – Tobacco Prevention      Program from the Oklahoma City-County Health Department in the morning
  • June 8 – Health Fair with      Oklahoma City Health and Wellness in the afternoon
  • June 11 – 15: Vacation      Bible School through Child Evangelism Fellowship
  • June 19 – New View      Blindness Awareness designed to show children what it’s like to be blind      and how to assist blind Americans through hands-on activities.
  • June 20 – 22: OKC Barons      Hockey camp all day at the Club
  • June 26 – 27: Girl Scouts      from 10 to 11 a.m.

“Many of our children at camp are at-risk and qualify for free and reduced lunches. We have a much higher percentage of foster kids and single parent children attending our camp,” said Brown-Ellis. “Most of our parents are working parents, so The Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club serves as a safe, educational and fun place for their children during the summer.”

In July, The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma will also offer a week-long residential camp at Camp Heart O’Hills in Tahlequah, a traditional outdoors summer camp. The camp is free to all enrolled.

Thanks to a partnership with The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, all camp attendees are provided breakfast, lunch and an afternoon snack at the day camp.

For more information about The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club, contact Megan Brown-Ellis at 405-677-4781.

From Associated Press article:

A survey of Salvation Army youth programs in more than 80 cities shows more than eight in 10 programs saw increased demand from children and families in the past year as unemployment and funding cuts strained charities.

The survey released to The Associated Press found 56 percent of the charity’s youth programs – including camps, preschools, daycare and after-school programs – are operating at or beyond their capacity.

The report, “Growing Up in a Downturn,” also examined the Great Recession’s effect on youth programs since 2008. Since then, 41 percent of the programs have had to cut back services or close their doors because of insufficient funding. Sites in Los Angeles, Rockford, Ill., and Memphis, Tenn., were among those forced to scale back.

Salvation Army Commissioner William Roberts, the charity’s national commander, wrote in the report that the increasing demand shows parents across the country are facing daily questions about how to provide for their children when even social service programs have to make cuts.

“Should they spend their latest pay check on food or rent?” he wrote. “How can they spend time with their children while working two jobs?”

In raw numbers since 2008, attendance at Salvation Army daycare programs increased by more than 40,000 children. Overall, the charity has seen an increase in need across all of its programs. In 2010, it provided assistance to 30.2 million people in the U.S., compared with 28.9 million in 2007.

At the same time, giving to the Salvation Army has been strained in some hard-hit regions with the highest unemployment. Programs that had to cut back are serving 10 percent fewer youths than before the recession on average, the report found.

In 2011, a third of the charity’s youth programs saw a reduction in contributions. For another 31 percent of them, donations remained flat. The report says many programs will see similar pressures throughout 2012, even though giving to the Salvation Army’s popular red kettle campaign was up last year.

In Memphis, Tenn., a decline of about 15 percent in donations amounted to the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Maj. Mark Woodcock, the area commander, said he had to close the doors of a subsidized childcare center that served low-income families for more than 30 years to focus on the most critical priorities of feeding and sheltering people.

In the charity’s women’s shelter with a capacity of 120 beds, 70 of them will go to children as a result of the ongoing economic slump, he said. So the shelter also provides tutoring and oversight to make sure those children attend school regularly.

“A lot of times people feel that the face of homeless is that man they see on the street corner,” he said. “Really the true face of homelessness is children.”

The Memphis chapter will be able to add more programs for children later this year with the opening of a $31 million Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center. It’s one of 34 centers nationwide funded by a $1.6 billion gift from McDonald’s heiress Joan Kroc when she died in 2003.

Even with challenges, many of the charity’s youth programs had been able to redirect services and resources to meet growing demand, the report found. In some cases, they have expanded or opened new youth facilities during the downturn.

In Kerrville, Texas, youth services were maxed out at serving 43 students each day in after-school programs with a small facility in the town of about 23,000 people, said Salvation Army Capt. Brett Meredith. With the building of a new $32 million Kroc Community Center that opened in November 2010, it can serve 200 students daily with a complex that includes two pools, a fitness center, dance studio and gymnasium.

Even still, there is a waiting list for as many as 50 needy youth who want to join the center’s programs.

“The gift made all the difference in the world,” Meredith said. Without it, “we’d be the same place we were five years ago.”

This is the first time the charity has released its internal data on its youth programs. Officials said the report is meant to show the need for continued public support for children’s programs. The Alexandria, Va.-based Salvation Army ranks as the nation’s second-largest charity by contributions after the United Way.

Nationwide, Col. William Harfoot, the Salvation Army’s national chief secretary, said the increase in demand has been the most dramatic he’s seen in 35 years with the charity. Maintaining some youth programs that provide recreation and music or arts lessons, for instance, can prevent other problems like drug addiction and poverty, he said.

Most funding must be raised locally. Only a few national gifts, such as a $1 million donation from the Wal-Mart Foundation last year, are distributed to regional offices.

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Salvation Army: http://www.salvationarmyusa.org

Bring the whole family out to The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club’s Fall Festival from 5 to 8 p.m. TONIGHT at the Club, 2808 SE 44th St.

Besides free food, live entertainment, game booths and tons of candy for the kiddos, the entire event is free to the public. Knowledge, our youth director for the club, has Christian and inspirational rappers on the slate for tonight as well to spread their positive messages.

The games include the usual, like football tosses and Plinko, but we’ll have some unique little games, like a toilet paper toss and others. We’d like to give a special shout-out to the Adult Rehabilitation Center guys for hand-making all the games for tonight’s event.

Again, this event is free and open to the public. Not only is it a fun festival for kids of all ages, it’s also a very safe place for the family to celebrate this fall holiday.

“We’ve become a place in this community where everyone knows they can come for a safe and fun time,” said Captain Michael Knott of The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma Area Command. “We’ve grown so much. We have over 100 kids who come to us after school and during our special camps, and kids just walk in now knowing that this is a safe place to come.”

The Boys & Girls Club offers after-school programs like homework assistance, crafts, dance classes, sports and more every day after school at its location at SE 44th and Bryant. In addition, any child under 18 years old can come to the club for a hot meal at 5:30 every day.

For more information or to enroll a child in The Boys & Girls Club, call 405-677-4781.