Working hand-in-hand with school
from the Herald-Palladium
By TONY WITTKOWSKI - HP Staff Writer
BENTON HARBOR — With the exception of a few programs and an important week, it was like any other Monday at the Youth Center at the Benton Harbor Boys & Girls Club. Monday marked the first day worth of events and programming being held at the Boys & Girls Club sites in Benton Harbor this week. They marked National Boys & Girls Club Week, where supporters will visit the Fettig Youth Campus at 600 Nate Wells Senior Drive and the Joel E. Smilow Teen Center at 190 W. Empire Ave.
Bark Angels From WSBT... A local program is using therapy dogs to give this kind of relief to kids who've experienced some tough life changes. They've partnered up with the Boys and Girls Club of Benton Harbor Youth Center. The program is called "The Bark Angels." The therapy dogs help kids who have lost a parent through death, divorce or imprisonment. Those working in the program say the dogs bring happiness and joy to kids who have often been dealt a bad hand, but they don't just work with kids. check out a report from WSBT 22's Alex Elich in the video above
By LOUISE WREGE - HP
BENTON HARBOR — The Youth Center at the Benton Harbor Boys & Girls Club is stepping up efforts to help younger club members learn to read through Project Learn, which started in January. Liji Hanny, director of club operations, said the club has held a summer reading program since 2001 with Winning Inc. of America, a nonprofit that promotes literacy. Julie Brooks-Snyder, literacy director for Winning Inc., said the summer program was developed to help combat learning loss over the summer for club members ages 6-14.
By HP Staff
BENTON HARBOR — Youth at the Benton Harbor Boys & Girls Clubs who are grieving the death of a loved one will get extra support thanks to the expansion of “Be There: A National Grief and Bereavement Initiative.” The national expansion was made possible by a $3 million grant from the New York Life Foundation, stated a press release from the club. The money will be used by 90 clubs over the next four years. The Benton Harbor club was chosen as a pilot project and awarded a three-year grant of $12,500. Lakeland Health will provide social-emotional health model training for club staff and community partners.
The Learning Game
By LOUISE WREGE - HP
BENTON HARBOR — There were more than a few laughs and lots of learning Wednesday during the Ebony Chronicles Family Feud at the Benton Harbor Boys & Girls Club Teen Center. Benton Harbor Club members competed against members from the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Kalamazoo to see which side knew the most African American history. The topics included traditional African American side dishes at dinner and African American inventors.
Youth of the Year
By LOUISE WREGE - HP
BENTON HARBOR — Attending the Boys and Girls Club of Benton Harbor has helped her discover her voice, said Imani Lee, who was named 2017 Youth of the Year during a ceremony at the club Saturday. “When I first started coming to the club, I was very shy and did not talk to anyone,” she said Monday. “Although this is only my third year at the club, I feel that I’ve grown a lot as a person.”
Poverty and privilege
From the Herald Palladium
By TONY WITTKOWSKI
BENTON HARBOR — Benjamin Janson spent an hour in poverty Saturday morning. The Lake Michigan Catholic High School senior took part in a poverty simulation session along with 50 students from other schools at the Boys & Girls Club in Benton Harbor. Participants were assigned a persona with specific family members, life circumstances and various employment assignments. Some of the students had kids to look after and received “bus passes” to get from place to place. The simulation was created as a way for participants to overcome misconceptions about poverty and motivate people to become involved in activities that reduce poverty in their communities.
Benton Harbor kids see Tuskegee airplane up close
From WSBT News
BENTON HARBOR — The Tuskegee Airmen played a major role in World War II. Kids from the Benton Harbor Boys and Girls Club got to see one of their planes up close. The kids watched a movie before seeing the plane. The children watched "Red Tails.” It's a movie featuring the story of how the Tuskegee Airmen helped during the war. On Wednesday night about 30 kids were able to touch and see a piece of history for themselves. The kids traveled back to 1942 when the Tuskegee airplane was used to escort bombers during World War II. "The P51 is, historians say, the airplane that won World War II or that turned the tables of WWII for us. There were about 15,000 P-51s built from 1940 to 1944,” said Ken Kaminski.
BH youth visit piece of history
From the Herald Palladium
By LOUISE WREGE
BENTON HARBOR — Almost 30 Benton Harbor youth saw a piece of history Wednesday when they visited a P-51C Mustang fighter being painted at Flying Colors Aviation in Benton Harbor. The airplane is the same type that was flown by the Tuskegee Airmen, a group of black military pilots who fought in World War II. “These kids need to see history in our community,” said Bryan Joseph of Benton Harbor, who helped coordinate the visit of the youth, who were members of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor.
On Monday, they saw the movie, “Red Tails,” to prepare for the visit, said Ronnika Williams, academics program instructor at the club’s Teen Center. The movie tells the story of the Tuskegee Airmen, who endured racism and had to train at segregated facilities in Tuskegee, Ala.
BH BUSINESS RESTORES A NATIONAL TREASURE
From Moody on the Market
Roughly 65 wide-eyed members of the Boys & Girls Club of Benton Harbor found themselves flanked on two sides this evening by two world renowned World War II military planes valued at nearly $7-million dollars as the Benton Harbor businessman who has been charged with restoring their colorful glory through dynamic new paint jobs told their story and answered questions.
Skylar Diggins visits Boys & Girls Club From WNDU...A homecoming of sorts today for Skylar Diggins as she visited the Boys and Girls club in Benton Harbor. She's an alumna of the South Bend Boys and girls club program; and realizes how special the program is for kids. Diggins spoke at the "Rise Above" luncheon to celebrate the "Smart Girls First" program which encourages young girls to live healthy and make good decisions. "I think with young girls, the message that needs to be continued to need to be yourself no matter what you bring to the table, understand that you are unique. Second, push yourself; try to see how high the elevator can go. And three surround yourself by positive people and mentors that think like you," said Diggins.
Wilson Chandler gives back to Michigan hometown
From Sports Illustrated Kids... Wilson Chandler grew up in Benton Harbor, Michigan, which is a two-hour drive from Chicago. When he was around two years old, he was taken in by his grandparents, and he has credited his grandmother, Olivia, for raising him.
Chandler earned a scholarship to play at DePaul University in Chicago. Over two years, he racked up an impressive 86 blocks. Then the New York Knicks selected him with the 23rd pick in the 2007 draft. During the ’10–11 season, Chandler was traded to the Denver Nuggets.
Boys & Girls Clubs kids get inside look at Coast Guard From WSJM news...The Boys and Girls Club of Benton Harbor is making it a priority to teach youth members all about water safety this summer. On Thursday, a group of kids were treated to a demonstration of water rescue gear by the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department and the U.S. Coast Guard in St. Joseph.
Benton Harbor Youth Learn to Swim Through Community Collaboration Youth members of the Benton Harbor Boys & Girls Clubs are participating in a water safety instruction program courtesy of a dynamic collaboration among the Boys & Girls Clubs, Benton Harbor-St. Joseph YMCA, Renaissance Athletic Club, Benton Harbor Sunrise Rotary Club, City of Benton Harbor, and the United Way of Southwest Michigan.
BOYS & GIRLS CLUBS OF BENTON HARBOR SERVES AS SUMMER FOOD SERVICE PROGRAM SITE The Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor announces the sponsorship of the Summer Food Service Program for children. Free meals will be made available to children 18 years of age. The meals will be provided without regard to race, color, national origin, age, sex, or disability, and there will be no discrimination in the course of the meal service.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor Celebrates National Summer Learning Day Keeping Kids Learning, Healthy, and Safe this Summer The Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor, in partnership with the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA), are highlighting the importance of summer learning opportunities today at both the Fettig Youth Campus (600 Nate Wells Sr. Drive, Benton Harbor, Michigan) and the Joel E. Smilow Teen Center (190 West Empire Avenue, Benton Harbor, Michigan).
BOYS & GIRLS CLUBS OF BENTON HARBOR RECEIVES $2,000 GRANT FROM THE DOLLAR GENERAL LITERACY FOUNDATION TO SUPPORT SUMMER LITERACY
This week, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation awarded the Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor a $2,000 grant to support summer literacy. This local grant award is part of over $7.1 million in grants awarded to more than 900 schools, nonprofits and organizations across the 43 states that Dollar General serves. As part of the Project Learn academic success strategy, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor provides a 10-week literacy program which prepares children for successful life-long learning through programming that reduces summer learning loss and increases grade-level reading proficiency. Certified literacy coaches are at the Fettig Youth Campus during the summer months and provide a minimum of two hours of instruction for each age group rotation throughout the week. Approximately 450 children between the ages of 6 and 14 are expected to participate in the program this summer.
STUDY FINDS BOYS & GIRLS CLUBS ARE A GOOD INVESTMENT The long-term economic benefits associated with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor providing youth development program services exceeds $20 million. A newly commissioned study by Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) found that Clubs are a sound investment, providing nearly $10 in benefits to the community for every dollar invested.
By LOUISE WREGE - HP Staff Writer
BENTON HARBOR — Friend. Leader. A “big little” brother. Those are the words friends, family and mentors used to describe 17-year-old Travone Shannon of Benton Harbor, who died Saturday while pier jumping off the South Pier at Silver Beach in St. Joseph.
By LOUISE WREGE - HP Staff Writer
BENTON HARBOR — Family, education and service – those are the three things graduating seniors need to remember as they enter the world, said Marilyn Ross-Golden, the speaker at the Mas Ceremony at the Benton Harbor Boys & Girls Club Teen Center on Friday. Teen Center Director Jeffrey Booker said the event celebrated not only the 45 graduating seniors, but the 40 eighth graders who will move up to the teen center. Ross-Golden said family means not only who you live with, but your community. “We are a family here in Benton Harbor,” she said. “Benton Harbor High School is my family. I’ve been here 28 years.” In addition, she said it was their job to take ownership of their own education. “A quality education starts with you,” she said. She said incoming freshmen are in the best position to do well because their slate has been wiped clean. She said they can start working on keeping their GPAs high so they can get into any school they want when they graduate. And she said it’s their job to make this world better.
Ozzie Smith keynotes Benton Harbor youth event from ABC57, Evan Sery. BENTON HARBOR, Mich. - Baseball Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith was in Michigan Wednesday morning, speaking to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor at the second annual Passport to Manhood Breakfast. Smith delivered a keynote address at the event, which celebrated Benton Harbor’s youth. Over 300 people attended the event, which celebrated Benton Harbor’s Young Man of the Year.
Hero-themed race returns - with a twist By TONY WITTKOWSKI - HP Staff Writer, BENTON HARBOR — Local runners can still wear tights and capes for the fourth annual Superhero 5K. However, this year will be focused on the everyday hero. This year, rather than traditional superhero attire, organizers are urging participants to dress up as firefighters or police officers for the April 23 race. “This year we’re more focused on our everyday heros,” said Teresa Fitzgerald, director of SWMI RACERS and senior sourcing specialist at Whirlpool Corp. “Not every hero wears a cape. We’re focused on our public safety officers, our firefighters, veterans and medical personnel.”
Brandy Reed named 2016 Benton Harbor Youth of the Year
By LOUISE WREGE - HP Staff Writer
BENTON HARBOR — Brandy Reed of Benton Harbor was all smiles after being named Youth of the Year on Saturday by the Benton Harbor Boys & Girls Club during a ceremony at the Teen Center. She was chosen from among five teens, who gave speeches about their experiences with the club during the celebration. After the ceremony, she said the club helped her get through a rough time when her father left the family for five years when she was 8 years old. "At that time, we weren't as well put together as a family as we should have been, and the Boys and Girls Club helped restore that and put that family all back together," said Reed, a senior at Benton Harbor High School. While he was gone, she said the club gave her people to talk to.
National Boys & Girls Club Week BENTON HARBOR -- The Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor are opening the doors to the local community the week of March 7, 2016. Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) kicks off National Boys & Girls Club Week on Monday, March 7, 2016 to celebrate the important work of local Boys & Girls Clubs in more than 4,000 communities nationwide where young lives are changed every day. The event also kicks off the local Club’s Each Dollar Makes a Difference annual fundraising campaign.
St. Joseph welcomes new TCC store Verizon premium wireless retailer TCC recently opened a new store at 2015 Niles Road, in St. Joseph. The new store is designed to be a destination for guests who want a hands-on experience with new wireless devices. The store offers special interactivity for those shopping for wireless devices, accessories, and more. At its Feb. 26 grand opening and ribbon cutting event, TCC announced a $500 donation to the Humane Society of Southwestern Michigan, Boys & Girls Club of Benton Harbor and Child and Family Services of Southwest Michigan.
Riding the Pine
By TONY WITTKOWSKI - HP Staff Writer
BENTON HARBOR — Mike Fiori has a passion for woodworking. This was made evident when the lead mechanical engineer submitted a handmade wooden car for the first Pinewood Derby race at Whirlpool Corp.’s Benton Harbor Technology Center. Along with more than 50 other engineers and makers, Fiori paid $10 for a block of wood to turn it into a derby car for charity. Cars faced off against one another inside the Tech Center’s cafeteria, using a 35-foot track created in the building’s model shop. The money will go toward helping six families Whirlpool “adopted” at Christmas, as well as buy and stuff backpacks for the Benton Harbor Boys and Girls Club.
From the Herald-Palladium. "Let's go." "Hit it."
"Come on, now." Those words of encouragement came from Ardale Clark, 28, as he directed his dance students in a jazzy version of "Jingle Bells" recently at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor, where he's the dance and drama teacher.
Whirlpool Volunteers Make Holiday Cards For Troops From WSJM. Soldiers overseas will be receiving Christmas cards from kids from the Benton Harbor Boys and Girls Club. A group of volunteers from Whirlpool helped students made the cards on Tuesday night as part of a Maytag Day of Dependability. The kids and volunteers were given a list of soldiers to choose from, and wrote personalized notes thanking them for their service and wishing them well for the holidays. Whirlpool Volunteer Molly Brasure.
Playing the dependability card
By LOUISE WREGE - HP Staff Writer
BENTON HARBOR - Members of the Benton Harbor Boys & Girls Clubs got a little help Tuesday writing and decorating Christmas cards to be sent with care packages to U.S. soldiers overseas. About 30 volunteers from Whirlpool Corp. helped them during the second Maytag Day of Dependability this year..
SJ-BH Rotary awards grants
From the Herald-Palladium.
ST. JOSEPH - Eight nonprofit and governmental organizations received recognition for their programs and were rewarded grants totalling $58,000 from the St. Joseph-Benton Harbor Rotary Club Foundation on Dec. 7.
The 2015 grant recipients are the Boys and Girls Club ($5,000); Curious Kids Museum ($14,000); Disability Network of Southwest Michigan-Berrien Cass ($7,500); Hospice at Home ($5,000); Sarett Nature Center ($5,800); Senior Nutrition Services Region IV ($7,000); Benton Harbor Soup Kitchen ($5,000); and the Volunteer Center of Southwest Michigan, Inc. ($8,700).
Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor Celebrates SMART Girls Who Rise Above On Thursday, November 12, 2015, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor celebrated some remarkable young women at the Fettig Youth Campus (600 Nate Wells Senior Drive, Benton Harbor, Michigan). During the Rise Above luncheon, Mikelae Kirby, age 13, was also presented with the 2015 Young Woman of the Year Award. The SMART Girls program offers young women—ages 9 to 18—guidance toward healthy living and good decision making. Through dynamic sessions, group activities, field trips and mentoring opportunities with women leaders, Club girls enjoy the opportunity to build skills for eating right, staying physically fit, getting good health care, developing positive relationships and so much more.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor to hold Teen Summit October 19-24, 2015 The Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor will sponsor the Making the Connection Teen Summit the week of October 19-24, 2015 at the Joel E. Smilow Teen Center at 190 W. Empire Avenue, Benton Harbor. The Making the Connection Teen Summit will showcase a different topic each day. During the week, teen Club members will be introduced to topics through panels, discussions and interactive experiences. The Making the Connection Teen Summit will be one of more than 7,500 events around the nation recognizing Lights On Afterschool, organized by the Afterschool Alliance. The week will end with the Greatest Sale on Earth!, a community sale to benefit Berrien County foster kids, in celebration of Make A Difference Day.
A Day of Discovery
By LOUISE WREGE - HP Staff Writer
BENTON HARBOR - Picnic tables were painted, windows were washed and trash was picked up Monday as more than 300 Chemical Bank workers in Berrien County celebrated Chemical Bank Cares Day. They joined more than 2,200 bank employees statewide. "Everybody from the president to the tellers - everybody is part of this today," said Larry Morrow, a mortgage officer in the St. Joseph office, who was working at the Benton Harbor Boys & Girls Clubs youth center.
Finding dependable fun
By TONY WITTKOWSKI - HP Staff Writer
BENTON HARBOR - As the music stopped inside the Drama Room, 11-year-old Sanehi Johnson kept dancing along with the other children. Standing and sometimes dancing behind them in a single-file row, wearing matching blue T-shirts, were volunteers from Whirlpool Corp., Maytag and other appliance companies. About 30 of those volunteers spent a few hours at the Boys & Girls Club in Benton Harbor Tuesday evening.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor Earns Coveted 4-Star Rating from Charity Navigator The Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor’s sound fiscal management practices and commitment to accountability and transparency have earned it a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator. This is the third time that the Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor has earned this top distinction.
Maytag Day of Dependability This Tuesday is the Maytag Day of Dependability, when Whirlpool employees around the country go out to volunteer with local Boys and Girls Clubs. In Benton Harbor, over 30 volunteers will head to the youth and teen campus of the Boys and Girls Club. The Day of Dependability began in 2010, and since then, Maytag has donated over 5.5 million dollars to help young people most in need around the country.
from the Herald Palladium (by Louise Wrege) BENTON HARBOR - Night Court in Benton Harbor this summer didn't include a judge in black robes. Instead, the new program took place most Fridays on the basketball court of the Benton Harbor Boys & Girls Clubs Teen Center. But it was about a lot more than basketball. "We said we'll use basketball as a conduit, basically, to get them in the building, but once they're here, it's time to get food for the soul," Teen Center Director Jeffrey Booker said.
Teaching service: Teens from Boys & Girls Club pitch in at pantry
from the Herald Palladium (by Louise Wrege)
ST. JOSEPH - Twenty-two teens from Benton Harbor gave a helping hand Thursday during the monthly food pantry of Trinity Lutheran Church in St. Joseph. They were from the Benton Harbor Boys & Girls Club. "I appreciated it because we have 8,000 pounds of food to give away," said Debby Miskill, community social outreach director at the church.
Summer Brain Gain: A Summer Learning Day Celebration The Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor, in partnership with the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA), will highlight the importance of summer learning opportunities at the Summer Brain Gain Celebration on Wednesday, July 29, 2015 with activities for children and teen members, as well as the community.
$25,000 CHALLENGE GRANT AWARDED TO BOYS & GIRLS CLUBS OF BENTON HARBOR
Frederick S. Upton Foundation Helps to Provide Great Futures for Area Youth
July 7, 2015, BENTON HARBOR – The Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor is proud to announce they have accepted a $25,000 challenge grant from the Frederick S. Upton Foundation to inspire donations to support the Club. Through the grant, the Frederick S. Upton Foundation will match each dollar given to the Clubs (up to $25,000) from new and lapsed donors through the Each Dollar Makes a Difference annual campaign.
Local students host picnic for elderly in Benton Harbor (from WSBT 22) BENTON HARBOR - Students at the Boys and Girls Club of Benton Harbor hosted residents from Pine Ridge Rehabilitation and Nursing Center. The kids fed them and they all sang and played together. Also on hand, several therapy dogs. The students have learned how to handle the dogs and often take them to Pine Ridge. "What happens with the pets when they come in is they're really inspirational to the residents especially who are in therapy, so for instance, maybe you're not that motivated to get up and do you therapy, you know, you're in pain, you don't feel good, your inclination would be to decline it, but if the therapist shows up with one of the dogs, the therapy dogs and your job that day is to walk the dog, then you're going to get up and go walk the dog,” said therapy leader, Ronda Payne.
Old National Bank launches "Tools for Schools" Campaign
SOUTH BEND, IN - In collaboration with seven independent Michiana community partners, Old National is pleased to launch a corporate wide annual “Tools for Schools” campaign — a community wide collection drive of school supplies for disadvantaged youth in grades K-12. This campaign helps ensure that none of the children in our local communities will go without the basic needs during the upcoming school year.
The campaign will run June 29 through July 24, and donations can be made in any Michiana Old National Banking Center during normal business hours. In addition, Old National has implemented the use of a “Wish List” via Amazon.com where the community can purchase donations and ship directly to an Old National collection site.
Sheriff's Kid Camps gives Berrien County children the chance to wear the badge from FOX 28 (Mario Gonzalez) - If you've ever wondered what's it like to be in law enforcement the Sheriff's Kids Camp is going to give kids in Berrien County the chance to do just that. It's open to 4th and 5th graders in Berrien County. This year the Boys and Girls Club of Benton Harbor joined on as a sponsor and are sending 20 kids from the Benton Harbor community. Camp includes everything from performing a traffic stop to learning how to stand in formation and salute. Team building exercises, safety programs and a kick ball game are also included in the 8th annual Sheriff's Kids Camp.
Rites of passage from Louise Wrege of the Herald-Palladium: BENTON HARBOR - Baruti Kafele, a former school principal in New Jersey, said he may be successful now, but he didn't start out that way. "I'm a ninth grade drop-out," he said at the first Passport to Manhood breakfast at the Boys and Girls Club of Benton Harbor Teen Center on Wednesday. "School was not significant or important to me. When I turned around 13 years old, I walked the streets. I wasn't doing anything with my life. I was just getting high and drinking."
Lessons in being a man Tra'Vone Shannon admits he has been transformed. "I learned how to be a better me," says the 16-year old. Shannon today earned his Passport to Manhood in the inaugural breakfast celebration of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor's program of the same name.
BH teen gains accolade from the Herald-Palladium: BENTON HARBOR - Mardarius Small knows what it's like to struggle and come out on the other side as a better man. That is why he was named 2015 Youth of the Year at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor. The 18-year-old senior at Dream Academy in Benton Harbor said he was not always a model student. "I was homeless at one point during high school because of my behavioral issues," said Small, who grew up in Memphis. "It led to me being put out of my home and placed in a juvenile detention center for one year and four months. My feelings of being alone, with no support, made me re-evaluate my behavior and academic situation." READ MORE AT THE HERALD-PALLADIUM
Boys & Girls Clubs names Youth of the Year The Boys and Girls Club of Benton Harbor has selected its Youth of the Year. CEO Brian Sexton says that it's 18 year old Mardarius Small, a young man who's managed to turn his life around after attending programs at the Boys and Girls Club. Sexton says that Mardarius came to them after having moved to the area from Memphis, and at the time, he had a poor attitude and poor grades. He even did over a year in a juvenile detention center and was homeless at one point. However, after working with the Boys and Girls Club, he's improved.