Faith and football are two things which describe Akia’s life as a running back for the Waller Bulldogs. He is a senior this year and strives to balance sports, a part-time job and homework. Life before Boys and Girls Country was chaos for this young man. “I was skipping school, failing my classes and getting into fights. There are 182 days of school, and I spent 112 days on In-School Suspension (ISS). Things were so bad I was failing gym class,” says Akia. Life was not easy when he first came to BGC. He was defiant and angry, but our counseling services provided the help he desperately needed.
The beautiful thing about Boys and Girls Country is that things do not stay the same. We want to see our kids thrive and achieve new heights. Akia has wonderful Teaching Parents, Steven and Adrianne Madden, who have walked with him through the valleys of his journey. They are the constant mentors in his life. According to Akia, “My Teaching Parents keep it real with me.”
People often thank Boys and Girls Country for “changing the lives of children.” Truthfully, we do not change anybody. We give children the opportunity and resources to make changes. We provide a safe and secure environment where Teaching Parents can help guide and mentor young lives. Akia has made these changes, and we celebrate his many victories.
Akia’s Christian faith has also inspired many of his peers as he attends weekly Bible Study at BGC. He has volunteered at several youth events and has been asked to share his testimony at a youth retreat in December. Akia plans to step up and share how the power of God has changed his life! He will remind his fellow students, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13). Before coming to BGC, Akia was considered a “runner” or a “flight risk” because he ran away from home many times. The good news is that he is still a “runner.” But, he is now running to Christ and running to pursue his dreams as a young man filled with hope and purpose.
Thank you for standing with Akia with your generous support. His story starts with your financial gift which gives us the opportunity to help children from families in crisis. My five year-old son, Lucas, recently earned two dollars for completing some chores around the house. He was excited and anxious to put the money into his empty wallet. One hour later he came back and gave me the two dollars. I said, “Lucas, what are you doing? This is your money.” He said, “Dad this is for all my friends at Boys and Girls Country because I love that place.” I cannot think of any better way to describe Boys and Girls Country – a haven for children built by friends who love this place.
We are excited to share that a recent Boys and Girls Country (BGC) service project has been awarded the Youth in Philanthropy First Honorable Mention and a $1,000 prize from the Greater Houston Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals Diversity and Outreach Committee!
Led by Jayna Harris, a BGC teaching parent, about 30 girls participated in a project with Days for Girls International. This organization makes reusable, sustainable feminine hygiene kits and provides them to girls who would otherwise miss school during their monthly cycles. Living in a home which emphasizes the importance of education, our girls were inspired to help and ensure that girls around the world would not miss school because of a lack of monthly hygiene supplies. This project gave our girls a sense of pride and accomplishment that they were able to help less fortunate children on the other side of the world. Intended to be a one-time service project, it has become an ongoing effort involving more and more girls on the BGC campus.
Goals of the project:
—To educate the young ladies in our care about the challenges other girls around the world go through every month.
—To help our girls recognize the value of education and opportunities.
—To help provide a sustainable, reusable solution for those in need of feminine hygiene kits around the world.
—To reintroduce the lost craft of sewing to the next generation of girls.
—To give back 50,000 school days to girls around the world through the use of the kits.
Our teenage girls were able to learn simple techniques to create the drawstring bags for the kits, and our younger girls put the kits together. We always encourage our BGC kids to “be the change”, and it fills our hearts with so much love to see the fruits of their labor.
We are very thankful for Board Director Chuck Scianna and his family who awarded funds for the past two years for service projects to be performed by our kids. The only stipulation put on the projects was that they had to be conceived, written and performed by the children with minimal adult input. In order to make this a learning process for the kids, they were required to submit a proposal, including a timeline and a budget. These projects encouraged our kids to make a difference in the world and taught them real-life skills.
“It has been amazing to see our young girls on campus sit down to learn to sew at a machine. They beamed with pride when they have completed a kit for another girl in need,” said Harris.
“I’m so proud of these young ladies who so willingly gave their time in order to make a difference in our world and to bring a brighter future to girls their own age in Uganda. Thank you all so very much!” commented Jean Kreutzer, head of the local Days for Girls Chapter.