A community united

This week I got to attend one of my favorite events: the Brandon Groveland Youth Assistance annual sponsor breakfast.
For anyone who doesn’t know, I’m the secretary on the BGYA executive board. Our main mission to help at-risk kids in the Brandon-Groveland community, and our breakfast is a thank-you to everyone in the community who has helped us to achieve that goal in the past year.
There aren’t words to describe how it feels to see dozens of people from various community organizations, government entities, the school district, and businesses all together in one room with a common goal: to help youth in the community. I have the privilege every year to walk into a room and see all of these people talking, laughing and hugging. Like I said, there aren’t words to describe the feeling, but I’ll try my best.
First of all, I want to give a huge thank-you to all of those people for the things they do for the youth. Whether it’s sponsoring a recreation or library program, volunteering, educating or donating, everyone provides an essential service to the community.
Our keynote speaker, Scott Hamilton, manager and judicial support for the 6th Judicial Circuit Court Family Division, told us all that our parent program, Oakland County Youth Assistance, is one of two programs like it in the nation. The other is in a different state that saw the Youth Assistance program and liked it so much that they wanted to model their own youth assistance program after ours.
What Youth Assistance does is prevention and diversion. We want to keep juveniles out of the court system. All kids make mistakes, and we don’t want one mistake to mark these kids as ‘delinquent’ for the rest of their lives.
BGYA provides programs for prevention, skill building scholarships, family education programs, and many more outreach programs. As our chairman, Bob McArthur, said in our annual report, we helped 556 kids and 150 families in 2023. That is an incredible number that continues to grow every year.
Part of what makes it so incredible is that the community comes together to help make that possible. I’m in awe every year that so many people attend our breakfast, because that means all of the people in that room care about helping kids as much as I do. That’s amazing.
Every year, we pass around a microphone so everyone in the room can introduce themselves and what they do in the community. This process usually takes about a half an hour. And we also usually pose a question for everyone to answer. This year, Bob asked everyone to say if their favorite teacher in school was a man or a woman. It was actually almost a tie, with the last person being the tiebreaker for a male teacher. But the people who attended Brandon schools were encouraged to say who their favorite teacher was, and we heard many names including Harv Fletcher, Bob Harvey and Lynne Schank. It was encouraging to hear how many people were so impacted by their teacher and community in Brandon that they continue to be involved in the community as adults.
I struggled with picking a favorite teacher in my head, so I said male because my newspaper teacher was a man, Mr. Murphy, and I think he had the biggest impact on my life. Not only did he get me interested in journalism, he made me and my now-husband co-news editors of our high school paper.
I think many of us remember a teacher, or a person, in our lives that had that kind of impact on us as teens. And I think being in a room full of people who have those kinds of impacts on the community youth is an amazing feat.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.