The Club teens teach other children

The Boys and Girls Club of Abbeville and the students at Eaton Park Elementary worked together to raise $277 for Hospice Care of Louisiana.

The Boys and Girls Club of Abbeville used their own club member children to help teach other children about potential health problems. The Keystone Club group is for club members that are teenagers between the ages of 14-18. Periodically, the group is required to perform community service hours that can be achieved in numerous methods.

Named “Caring for Others”, the teaching project was created to promote healthy living in an effort to build awareness of and to reduce common diseases. The goals of the project were outlined, detailed with information and planned by the members with the assistance of Brian Ford, Abbeville’s Club director. Finally, the project was designated as a fund-raiser and a recipient agreed upon.

“The boys and girls researched the information on the internet and put all the work together into a flier to hand out at Eaton Park Elementary School,” said Ford. “A lot of our club members attend school there and we thought it would be a good place to make our presentation. By designing a flier to hand out to the students at the school, it became a piece that could help others once the students take it home. Once it gets into the home, there’s no telling who’s going to see the information on the flier and might have a benefit from the piece.”

In “Caring for Others”, the Club members worked to “promote healthy living in an effort to build awareness and to reduce common diseases. Eaton Park students who pay $1 on Friday (December 5th) will be allowed to wear a hat to school on this day. All money raised will be donated to Hospice.”

In the flier, the students went through the explanation of describing hospice as “a type of compassionate care for patients whose illness is no longer responding to treatment and there is no hope for a cure.” For someone not familiar with the program, the flier includes the facts that hospice provides expert medical care; includes a comprehensive pain management program and provides for both emotional and spiritual support.

The Keystone researchers also included information on heart disease, cancer and strokes that together account for almost 60% of all deaths in the United States. Also, that health care for people with chronic diseases account for 75% of the nation’s total health care cost.

For the Boys and Girls Clubs, the Keystone Club part of the organization is designed to give teenagers a sense of empowerment. To achieve this, the Club members become involved in program activities, such as “Caring for Others”, by doing the research and then presenting the findings as part of a way to give back to their communities.

Eaton Park Elementary Principal Paul Hebert said that his own mother received care through hospice ten years ago. “The Club and the school have worked together in the past and a lot of our students are enrolled with them as well. Work like this helps the students to become aware of Hospice and what it provides,” said Hebert.

Hospice Care of Louisiana Executive Director Bryant Dronette, RN, MBA/HCA said that the money donated by the Club and the school will be set aside for specific expenses in Vermilion Parish that are not normally covered by the program. “Things like milk, or a space heater if needed or even water will be paid for through this donation,” said Dronette.

In other news, the Boys and Girls Club of Abbeville is planning an end of the year lock-in and sleep-over Friday, December 19. “This is an annual event,” said Ford. “A child can attend by signing up for the 2009 program year and paying the $7 membership dues. We’re working on food donations from the community along with game prizes as well. For the night, we’ll have tournaments in the game room, basketball games, the play stations will be hooked up and running and there will be Arts & Crafts projects as well.”

The lock-in takes place from 8:00 p.m. Friday night until 8:00 a.m. Saturday morning. The following week, the students will be out of school for the Christmas holidays and the Boys and Girls Club will be operating on their holiday schedule. For December 22 and 23, the club will be open from 7:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. The Club will be closed Christmas Eve, December 24 until January 2nd. On January 5, 2009, the Club re-opens with normal after-school hours from 3 - 8 p.m.

For Club members, there are Christmas trees available at no charge while supplies last. Ford stressed that the trees are for member families only. Regional Club director Arlene Armentor said that the trees were distributed to all the clubs in the Acadiana district. “There was a wedding at the ULL Alumnae House and the trees were left behind after all the other decorations had been cleaned up. The wedding coordinator wanted to give them out to an organization where there was a real need and we have clubs in areas all across Acadiana,” commented Armentor.

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