For Deanna Sims, her volunteer work with the Boys & Girls Clubs of East Texas isn’t just an investment of time, it’s an investment in the future.
Ms. Sims, a volunteer for three years and chairwoman-elect for the organization’s board of directors, focuses a lot of her energy and attention on the annual Champions of Youth fundraiser event. The Boys & Girls Club provides after school activities, supervision and mentoring for children, many of whom come from struggling families. Champions of Youth provides the necessary funds to help the families and children who need it most.
“It’s just been a huge blessing to see how the scholarships that are generated from that fund raiser allow families to participate in the Boys & Girls Club that might not otherwise have the opportunity,” Ms. Sims said. “Some of the very families that we’re trying to reach the most are the ones that can ill afford to be a part of the after school program, so this gives us that additional income to provide that to them.”
Ms. Sims has spent the last three years serving and volunteering with The Boys & Girls Club of East Texas because she said that a wealth of life experiences illuminated the need for this sort of investment in children.
“I have been involved in the Junior League of Tyler for some time, and that benefits multiple agencies. I’ve been involved in PTA as a mother. I started realizing that not only the academic development but character development of children is crucial to their future,” she said. “And in East Texas we are dealing with many children … (who) are on free or reduced price lunch, meaning that their families have very limited resources to provide, not only after school care for them, but they are limited in time to give to their children because they are working so hard to make a living. So many of them are not getting the kind of attention that they need.”
Of broader importance to Ms. Sims, too, is the way investing in a child has longer lasting implications beyond their immediate lives. She is of the opinion that when you invest in a child in need, you invest not only in their lives but the future of their community as well.
“Also our culture, as you know, has disintegrated to the point where there are a lot of children who are in such an unhealthy environment that they don’t know how to grow to be healthy adults, physically or emotionally and, I believe, spiritually as well,” Ms. Sims said. “Those children are going to be the people that will be taking care of us one day. They will be taking responsibility for our community, and we want to make sure that it is in the best possible position it can be. My care and compassion goes even beyond their individual needs, but the future of East Texas, and what that will look like if we don’t give them attention.”