Corporate partners play vital role to Boys & Girls Clubs
by Matt Shinall
Apr 30, 2012 | 1784 views | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
JaMiya Moore, left, and Victoria Williams work on a computer in the tech center at the Boys and Girls Club in Cartersville. 
SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
JaMiya Moore, left, and Victoria Williams work on a computer in the tech center at the Boys and Girls Club in Cartersville. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
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With help from partners in the business community, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Bartow County are able to maintain facilities and expand offerings to better serve the children with a safe place to learn and play.

Recently, Comcast, Cartersville Medical Center and Phoenix Air have stepped up to the plate in efforts to aid the youth-outreach program with units in Cartersville and Adairsville.

On April 21, the annual Comcast Cares volunteer day visited the Boys & Girls Club Adairsville unit where employees and community volunteers pitched in to spruce up the facility both inside and out.

"For the Adairsville Boys & Girls Club, we had 130 volunteers that came through during the course of the day," said Comcast Technical Analyst Kheisha Harrison. "The volunteers were not just Comcast employees but we partnered with the Boys and Girls Club so they had some people from their organization there, Adairsville Elementary School, the city of Adairsville, Power of God Fellowship -- a church out of Cartersville -- and Adairsville High School.

"We did some outside beautification, clearing some vines and brush that was covering the side of the building, so we removed that, we cleaned up their storage space, we did some work inside and created a media room for them. We donated a projector and painted a media wall so now they have a place the entire group can watch movies and play video games or whatever they want to do in that space. We also cleaned on the inside, did some plumbing work in their bathroom, did some refurbishing on some walls and donated a basketball goal, soccer nets, picnic tables and an outside gazebo tent."

Additionally, Comcast donated supplies needed by the Boys & Girls Clubs, including game balls, board games and video games.

Comcast has held the annual, corporate-wide volunteer day since 2001 and has supported the Boys & Girls Clubs of Bartow County several times since. Harrison shared the feedback she has received from co-workers impressed with the Adairsville unit and the children they met.

"I've still been hearing some feedback from employees and they were really impressed with what we were able to accomplish in a relatively short amount of time," Harrison said. "Overall, people were really excited to connect with them and make a difference. They did have a number of the children who attend there. I think there are about 75 to 100 children who are serviced each day and a lot of them were there.

"They were surprised that the unit serves as many kids as it does and that they were able to make their resources work, but at the same time they were really grateful that we were able to come in and provide them with some of the items that they needed. They really needed a lot of supplies even more so than some of the work we did."

For Gordon Gilley, chief professional officer of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Bartow County, contributions from Comcast go beyond the annual efforts of Comcast Cares Day.

"We've had a long-standing relationship with them," Gilley said. "They've been very supportive, not only with the Comcast Cares Day and helping us tweak and really refurbish both of our clubs with a lot of time and person power, but they also provide us with an operating grant each year to help us actually serve kids that would not have been served before."

In addition to Comcast, other companies have had a hand in improving the services offered to local children, including Phoenix Air.

"Phoenix Air has been a long, long-time partner -- really since our inception in 1990. Phoenix Air has been a financial supporter of this movement in Bartow County every year, without exception, every single year. Recently, they've gotten some people power involved as well in conjunction with Cartersville Medical Center," Gilley said. "They've come on site and helped us refurbish our tech center and not only added to it but made sure we had online access with all of them. So, now we went from literally four active work stations to 10."

Companies interested in partnering with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Bartow County can call 770-382-5500.

"We've been real successful recruiting and retaining our partners, and they are many, but we can always use more," Gilley said. "They allow us to not only serve our existing members and their families better and with enhanced programs and services but they allow us to build capacity also. These refurbishments and these extra computers in the tech center allow us to reach out. Along with the cash contributions, they allow us to serve more kids -- we don't have to turn kids away."