Samara Cornett is currently in the fourth grade. She began attending the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley in November of 2013. Her family maintains military status due to her father’s service. Like most members, Samara started her lessons as a beginner who was very timid in the water. As an older sister, she did her best to show younger sister, Estella, how to conquer her fears. Last summer, Samara and Estella’s father passed away suddenly. Their family was uprooted and had to move back home to Kentucky in order to help Estella cope with the tragic loss of their father. Samara, being the older sister continues to help Estella cope with the transition. Samara is a leader at home and that transitions to the Boys & Girls Club. This fall, Samara took hold of her fear of the water and was able to pass the deep end test! Shortly thereafter, Estella was moved into an intermediate level class encouraging her to focus on the sport. Both girls have shown extreme dedication to swimming and without the Phelps and Make a Splash program, these opportunities would not have been offered to these children.
Dakota is 11 years old and a member of the Haslam Boys & Girls Club. When he was in second grade Dakota began attending the Club and was quite afraid of the water. His motor skills and emotional development were behind others his age. Dakota received several “write-ups” and behavioral reprimands. Eventually, Dakota’s mom made the decision to hold him back a grade year to allow for maturing and success. The same year that Dakota was held back in school, he began taking swim lessons. Dakota was able to work his way through the swim lesson classes and in the Spring of 2015, Dakota made the Haslam Hammerhead swim team! Dakota became an honor roll student and is now going into the 5th grade at Belle Morris Elementary School. He has become a tour guide at the Boys & Girls Club and speaks with administrative staff and potential investors as they walk the halls of the new facility and learn more about what the Boys & Girls Club has to offer. Dakota has even been interviewed by local news companies in regards to the Olympics and how the games have played a part in the programming at the Boys & Girls Club.
Selena is 12 and visited the Club for the Make a Splash Camp. She had previously participated in the camp and learned a great deal the first time. This round through the swim camp, Selena assumed the role of mentor and assistant. She was able to encourage members who desired to learn a skill and even demonstrate some skills for the class. Selena was able to pass the deep end test and worked towards further developing her backstroke and breast stroke skills. We are very proud of Selena and will be excited to see her back in the pool in the future! She is a model of true selflessness and maturity and will do great things in the future.
Mr. Lynn has been volunteering at the Fort Craig Boys & Girls Club in Maryville for over two years, helping the kids Monday through Thursday with homework. “I help with homework, but I think I influence the youth most by being a good example of showing up, and being here every week,” he said. This past month the education room was dedicated to Mr. Lynn, complete with a ceremony so that the youth could express what he means to them. Mr. Lynn said, “some days when they don’t have homework the kids will stop by the education room to give me a hug, this is nice.” Thank you Mr. Lynn for making a big impact on the youth at Fort Craig!
“At times I worked two and three jobs. Without the Club I couldn’t have done it.”
Her boys Lance (13) and De’Arius (12) have been at the Club since kindergarten. She says that the Club has allowed her boys to experience things that she could not have been able to provide. “The Club is like their second home. The Clubs provide guidance, tutoring and a safe place for children to go. I want them to reach their dreams, and the Boys & Girls Club has helped me push them in the right direction. Words cannot express how thankful I am.”
Single mom, Halls/Powell Club
Her Club director had this to say: “The cadet staff has proudly chosen Estella as our Youth of the Month. Estella has been attending the Cadet room since Pre-K. This year Estella is repeating the First Grade. While we have continued to watch her grow over these past two and a half years we have seen a tremendous growth in not only her character but in her confidence. Estella has had many setbacks in life, the most recent of which being the passing of her father in 2014. This has caused a major disruption in her home life and for a brief period of time she wasn’t able to continue at the Club. Through all of this Estella is always cheering us up with her bright smile and her cheerful outlook towards life. She is one of the first to follow the staff’s lead and is always happy to help in any way she can. This past year she has put a focus on her reading. We are overjoyed to say that this past month Estella read her first book out loud to her mother. We are very thankful for her and are excited to see what the rest of this school year brings for her.”
First Grader, Haslam Club
“Thirty years ago, I went to Fun Day and I’ve been involved with the Boys & Girls Club ever sInce. It’s a positive place for kids, and it’s a positive place for adults, too. There’s not another organization that does for kids what the Boys & Girls Clubs does.”
Chairman, Board of Directors
“I love Boys & Girls Clubs because it allows me to not only be a positive impact on children’s lives, but also the Club has positively impacted me as a young professional. It has helped me realize that I can not only help children to see their potential, but it has helped equip me with the knowledge and opportunities to better myself too. And I have super fun coworkers that are always encouraging and cheering me on when making decisions and internal career moves”
Club Staff, Vestal Club
“The Boys & Girls Club provided me with the outlet I needed to be successful.”
2-time Youth of the Year
Freshman at Austin Peay University
Addie tells her Club director Sydney, “I’m going to have your job one day!” Her mother wrote a letter to Sydney and said, “As a family we have benefited from the Club in many ways. The club has provided services and programs that may have been difficult for us to access otherwise. I have had the peace of mind that Addie is in a safe and secure environment, with people that protect and care for her. I would like to say thank you. I would like to say how much I appreciate the fact that our community has a place for our children to safely participate and be part of a group that consistently strives to provide them with MORE. More fun, more options, more possibilities, more strengths.”
Third Grader, Carter Club
“Thank you for the warm welcome and for allowing us to participate in the Maytag Day of Dependability. I have a huge respect for what you do every day for these children and the future of our country.”
Volunteer, Maytag Corporation
“If I wasn’t at the Boys & Girls Club after school I honestly don’t know what I’d be doing. I’ve been going here since second grade.”