Posted by Eric Bleier on September 07, 2010
I chose to serve on the Exchange Club Family Center’s Board of Directors because as an AmeriCorps volunteer with the agency, I obtained firsthand working-knowledge of the services provided and the needs of the community. The mission of the agency is not just written in words but in the hearts of every staff member who encounters a client through the agency’s many services addressing the needs of youth and their families.
Some agencies’ services are focused on adults, which then funnel through to the child. However, the services at the Exchange Club Family Center are focused on addressing not only the adult issues in the family, but also targeting the needs of the child.
I am inspired by the “results,” which are demonstrated by the willingness of clients to complete the various programs. In addition, the agency is equipped with the professional expertise to identify and address the varied needs of the family ranging from food stamp assistance to individual counseling.
The value of helping families can be measured through services such as the mentor program at the Exchange Club Center, which is, on a one-on-one basis, proactively addressing the needs of youth. It is imperative that youth have mentors/role models to provide a broader range of cultural, social, and educational exposure that may not be provided within their families.
Even I had people who were not family members that contributed to the person that I am today. I was able to embrace a quality of life and life skills, which would not have been available without the mentors in my life. Mentors/role models can expose youth to skills and experiences that may not be available in their homes, provide guidance in educational decisions, and/or simply expose the youth to events and activities in the community.
With the support of the Memphis Grizzlies, the agency has been able to recruit and match numerous kind and caring mentors with youth who have been exposed to the trauma of abuse and neglect.
Although we did not call them mentors during my youth, I had teachers who encouraged my educational abilities and built the confidence in me that has sustained me throughout my educational and professional career. In addition, I had members in the church community that provided me with spiritual guidance and neighbors that assisted in overseeing my care and well-being.
That was just our community during my youth. However, the communities today lack the make-up of communities that we had in the 50s and 60s. Therefore, a definite need exists for mentors/role models to encourage our youth today.
Because of technology advancement, our youth are more exposed to life matters without the proper guidance to handle the information. Youth today need this guidance and support, and mentors and/or role models are a great deterrent to gangs or other groups that prey on our youth.
To learn more about the Exchange Club Family Center, visit their website: http://www.exchangeclub.net/Share