The Boys and Girls Club of the Big Bend is known for serving thousands of children in the area. The organization works to provide a positive environment through their five core focus areas: career and academics, healthy living, career development, the arts, and sports and fitness.
The organization has seven club locations within Leon and Gadsden County, which include Quincy, Havana, Chattahoochee and Tallahassee. One of the biggest issues the region is currently facing is the lack of consistent volunteers. Volunteer Coordinator Linda Ryles said there are only 11 volunteers total for the seven locations.
“With a region that has seven clubs, I would love to have at least four volunteers at every club location,” Ryles said. “Most times our volunteers are college students who are only here for a semester.”
The relationships built between both the club members and the volunteers are supposed to be meaningful. Volunteers work closely with club members to ensure their needs are being met so club members can excel inside and outside of the organization. Ryles went on to explain how volunteers are an important part of The Boys and Girls Club.
Another issue the organization is facing would be the ability to get volunteers to their Gadsden county locations. Executive Director, Lee Wager expressed how the location of the club impacts the number of volunteers.
“With the clubs in Gadsden County, it’s hard to get volunteers who want to make the drive out there,” Wager said.
In an effort to encourage volunteers to drive to Gadsden County, the organization has begun offering volunteer hours for the drive there and back. A volunteer will be compensated for their time driving, with the hours it took to make it to the location. Ryles has also started an internship opportunity for college students to take part in at the Gadsden county locations.
Oluremi Abiodun began volunteering with the organization in the fall of 2018 and detailed how volunteering has changed her outlook on life. She encouraged anyone interested to make an effort to reach out to the organization.
“You are not just impacting them, they are impacting you,” Abiodun said. “I love volunteering whether it’s with my school, sorority, or just because my love for volunteering has influenced my desire to pursue a service-based career.”
The Boys and Girls Club Big Bend are looking for all types of volunteers to help make a difference in the community they serve. Abiodun noted as long as volunteers are committed to the children of the organization, they would be able to see the change within themselves.
“Their impact would be even greater if more people invested in their work,” Abiodun said. “Investment in children whether through time, talents, or money is an investment in our future that will bring abundant returns.”
For those interested in volunteering you are encouraged to pick up a packet at the Boys and Girls Club located at Nims Middle School in Tallahassee, Florida. If you have any questions about the Boys and Girls Club’s current internships please Linda Ryles at email@example.com.