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  • Writer's pictureBoys & Girls Clubs of Kentuckiana

National Boys and Girls Club Week celebrates efforts to help kids through pandemic

Updated: Jan 31, 2022

Mental health education has become a passion project for Newburg Hope Ambassador program.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) The National Boys and Girls Club is celebrating its resilience through the COVID-19 pandemic this week and highlighting the services clubs provide to kids in their communities.

For many kids in the Boys and Girls Club, it's a home away from home.

"It's truly amazing how some place in a small city like this can just change everything in one click," member Camden Warren said.

Newburg's club teaches kids to give back with projects like making lunch for the homeless. And like other clubs, it also provides summer programming, after-school programming and meals.

"The program is very critical," Newburg Program Director Rick Martin said. "It teaches them how to give back, because a lot of times we give a lot, but they need to learn how to give back themselves. As long as we keep that cycle going, there will always be someone there to give back to others in need."

The club also enables its members to help create programs of their own. Mental health education has become a passion project for Warren, who is president of the Newburg Hope Ambassador program.

"I've dealt with depression. I've lost so many," the 13-year-old said. "My best friend, her name was Ari, she got shot and killed. Just knowing I won't be able to see them, just because of a gun violence act, is just tough. But I'm getting through it every day. I'm trying my best, and it's working so far."

He helped select other members who've had similar experiences for the ambassador program, which teaches coping mechanisms like deep breathing, has them do projects like making stress balls and teaches suicide prevention and how to encourage others to reach out for help.

"I know what they feel, how they feel, how can they feel," Warren said. "So I feel like I can make a change and impact on them."

That's the exact type of attitude the Newburg Boys and Girls Club tries to encourage with its programming.

"These are our young activists, our young leaders, our presidents, our senators, our doctors, our lawyers," Martin said. "They're in this building right now. We're helping to cultivate that and moving them forward."

Leaders hope to inspire the youngest generations to make a difference.

"We want to make a change by helping mental (health) and getting to the point where they can start helping others, too," Warren said.

Martin said they are always looking for volunteers and donations. Visit The Kentuckiana Boys and Girls Club website to sign up or donate.

From WDRB, (June 22, 2021). Read original article here.

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