Keeping the dream alivePublished 11:13pm Saturday, December 29, 2012
There are people who have the ability to touch lives, to open doors in thought and action that forever change a child’s life for the better. Too often, those people are the unsung heroes and their good works go unacknowledged by all but a few.
The Boys & Girls Club of Beaufort County is about to change that, according to Malveata Collins, chief professional officer of the organization. The club’s year-end fundraising drive and January gala will be all about honoring a community’s Dream Keepers — the ones who have helped build dreams and keep them alive for those in need of a little inspiration.
“There are so many people in the community who deserve to be honored,” Collins said. “For over 20 years the Boys & Girls Club has been the Dream Keeper of the community.”
Collins described the Boys & Girls Club as a place faithful to giving hope, affirming dreams and providing a safe haven each day after school and during the summer for the many children in need of its service.
In the final campaign drive of the year, the Boys & Girls Club is reaching out to anyone whose life has been touched by his or her own Dream Keeper, asking the community to make a financial contribution to the club in honor of that person. The names of all submitted Dream Keepers will be collected and made part of a mural for the Boys & Girls club, designed by artist Tanya Parker.
The club, said Collins, is in a financial crunch right now. Collins attributed that to a waning economy, as support has been cut at every level of the government for organizations like the Boys & Girls Club and the programs it provides. As example, that translates to close to $4,000 cut from the 2012 City of Washington Boys & Girls Club allocation compared to the previous year’s budget; a $700 cut from the Belhaven, according to Collins. As budgets are shaved, the club has been forced to scale down its costs, recently laying off two part-time employees, both program instructors, at its facilities in Washington and Belhaven. As it is, the club supports just two full time employees — Collins and marketing director Walter Lanham — and eight part-time employees.
Collins said the financial crunch comes in part because several of its grants are reimbursement-based, paying the club back for its expenditures. The problem arises if the club doesn’t have the initial funds to dole out, she said.
“We’re grateful for the grants, but we are at the mercy of the federal and state governments,” Collins explained.
Now, Collins envisions partnering with all organizations willing to back the club’s impact on community youth, and is working to increase partnerships with Beaufort County schools. The ideal picture for Boys & Girls Club of America is for each facility to be community funded, which inspired the dream keepers fundraising drive, she said.
Of the dream keepers recommended, members of the Boys & Girls Club board will whittle the names down and select those to be honored at a gala to be held from 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m., Jan. 25, at the First United Methodist Church in Washington. Tickets will be sold for the event that Collins lightheartedly described as “the prom, but the second-time around.”
Those interested in submitting the names of their dream keepers to the Boys & Girls Club are asked to send in their name, phone number, the name of their dream keeper and their financial contribution to Boys & Girls Club of Beaufort County, P.O. Box 2331, Washington NC 27889. For more information, call 252-940-0139.