Boys & Girls Club of Troy spearheads Gimme 5 campaign

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published December 9, 2015

 From left, Amelia Krause, 7, of Troy; Olivia Koralewski, 10, of Troy; Larsa Odisho, 11, of Center Line; and Aubrey Pritchard, 10, of Sterling Heights, munch on a Thanksgiving meal at the Boys & Girls Club of Troy Nov. 25, the day before Thanksgiving.

From left, Amelia Krause, 7, of Troy; Olivia Koralewski, 10, of Troy; Larsa Odisho, 11, of Center Line; and Aubrey Pritchard, 10, of Sterling Heights, munch on a Thanksgiving meal at the Boys & Girls Club of Troy Nov. 25, the day before Thanksgiving.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

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The Boys & Girls Club of Troy is asking the community to “gimme five.”

Jeff Evans, CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of Troy, said the idea is that $5 is the equivalent of a couple of cups of coffee or other inexpensive items.

Gimme 5 is also a way to celebrate accomplishment, provide encouragement and show friendship, Evans noted. According to the group’s website, a $5 donation can provide one hour in one of the organization’s five core areas of leadership: character and leadership; education and career; health and life skills; sports, fitness and recreation; and the arts.

Charles Schwab will match the first $500 collected, the Rotary Club of Troy will match the next $1,500 and Main Street Bank will match the next $2,000 in the Gimme 5 campaign.

“The Boys & Girls Club of Troy is a nonprofit youth development organization that aims to provide educational and recreational activities in addition to counseling programs to over 1,200 children ages 6 to 18 in Oakland and Macomb counties,” states the organization’s website.

“Attendance this summer was the highest it’s ever been,” Evans said.

Over 500 children attended over the summer, and there was a waiting list. The number of registered year-round members is also the highest it’s ever been at 990 children, Evans added.

He said the organization recently restarted the Keystone and Torch clubs.

The Keystone Club, a service and leadership group,  provides real-world academic, career and service experiences to members ages 14-18, according to the group.

The Torch Club promotes good character for preteen members ages 11-13. Members learn to work together to plan and implement activities centered on service, education, health and fitness, and social recreation.

“Boys & Girls Club is a wonderful community program for our children who attend. It provides a safe, healthy and clean environment for the children, which puts their working parents’ minds at ease,” Michelle Ullman, business service director for the Rotary Club of Troy, said via email.

Ullman serves as president-elect for the Rotary Club of Troy and is on Boys & Girls Club of Troy board of directors. She said she believes in what the organization stands for.

“Rotary Club of Troy is part of Rotary International. Our ‘Service Above Self’ motto means that we work hard at giving back to our local community with programs such as the Boys & Girls Club of Troy. Last year, Rotary Club of Troy was able to provide Boys & Girls Club of Troy with their outdoor basketball hoops. In addition, Rotary supports the Taste of Troy event by attending and purchasing auction items,” she said in an email.

She described Evans and Director Tom Gorman as “amazing men who continue to champion Rotary community programs, and we try to do the same for Boys & Girls Club of Troy.”

Tyler Frazier, 16, a student at Athens High School, said he plans to run for president of the Keystone group. He has attended the Boys & Girls Club of Troy for nine years.

“It’s my first opportunity to have a say and effect on the community,” he said of his involvement with Keystone.

He plans to expand the football and baseball sports leagues with other Boys & Girls clubs, and he would like to see a theater group begin.

Keystone member Agafa Szewczult, 14, also an Athens High School student, would like to see organized  volleyball and track events at the Boys & Girls Club of Troy.

“It’s a place to hang out,” she said of the club.

Joshua Dixon, 14, who is homeschooled, plans to run for vice president of Keystone. He also serves on the Teen Advisory Board at the Troy Public Library and is a member of the teen writers club at the library. He said he’d like to spearhead a basketball tournament at the club, form a music club, replace the ping-pong table, renovate the game room and enhance the Wi-Fi in the teen room.

James Farrell, 13, an Athens student, plans to run for treasurer for the Keystone group. He said he has taken business classes.

“I’d like to use my skills to effectively run fundraisers,” he said.

“I want to make the Boys & Girls Club of Troy even better and become more organized and involved,” said Troy High student William Harewood, 15, who also joined Keystone. “My friends are here. It’s fun.”

To donate, visit www.crowdrise.com/gimme5/fundraiser/bgctroy.

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