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Volunteers, youth honored by Pa. club

April 14, 2003|by BONNIE HELLUM BRECHBILL

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Boys & Girls Clubs nationwide sponsored special activities last week to tell the community what good things they're doing, said Phil Bennett, director of the Chambersburg branch of the Boys & Girls Club of America.

Lots of good things have been happening at the local club in the recreation center on South Third Street. Although it has been open for only 90 days, "we've seen attitude and behavior changes," Bennett told the children and staff at an awards ceremony Friday.

Boys & Girls Clubs in every state recognize a Youth of the Year, who then competes on regional, state and national levels, Bennett said.

"The national Youth of the Year usually gets a full four-year college scholarship and is recognized by the President of the United States," he said.

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Because the Chambersburg club is new and serves mostly younger kids, its staff selects a Youth of the Month to get the program started.

Staff members nominate candidates based on what they do around the club, their grades and how they help the staff.

Photos of the winners are displayed on a bulletin board in the club house.

Youth of the Month for February is Jerome Williams, 10, of Chambersburg. The fourth-grader at Andrew Buchanan Elementary School received a certificate and plaque.

The son of Christina and Donnie Williams, Jerome said he was selected for the honor because he wrote a speech about the war in Iraq. In it, he said that he is against the war "because innocent people die, and I think there should be no more war."

Jerome helps staff members to rearrange tables and chairs at the club house. He enjoys playing bumper pool in the game room, and said his favorite subjects in school are math and recess.

"Jerome listens the first time," program director Jeremy Barnes said. "He's one of the last to leave. He helps to clean up without being asked; he's always willing."

A classmate of Jerome's, Bryce Trageser of Chambersburg, was named March's Youth of the Month.

Bryce, 10, said he was chosen for the award for helping the staff, and because he achieved his goals for growth. His goals were to help others and to bring his grades up, "and I achieved both of them," he said. He raised his social studies grade from a C to an A, and his science grade from an N to an S+ in three months. His favorite subject is math, and he plans to attend the Boys & Girls Club this summer. His parents are Kelly and Ira Trageser.

Barnes said Bryce is learning to be "his own person, not to follow the crowd. We've seen the most improvement with him. He's a well-rounded individual; he's one of the leaders of the club, even though he's only 10. The younger ones listen to him."

Barnes is a sophomore elementary education major at Shippensburg (Pa.) University, and works part-time at the Boys & Girls Club.

At the ceremony, Bennett recognized the volunteers who assist with activities at the Boys & Girls Club.

The volunteers will be instrumental in opening the second Boys & Girls Club planned for the Chambersburg area in May or June, and will "go through the summer with you," Bennett told the children.

Volunteers receiving recognition were Tiffany Beck, Shawn Krisch, Michael Logsdon, Danielle Mills, Lynn Jones, Cindy Goetz, Leah Good, Anna Carlen, Colleen Dorsey, Hillary Manning, Mary Kay Bee, Melissa Schad, Regina Polito, Paul Dickson, Debra Burkholder, Mary Barber, Ryan Cunningham and Jennifer Matthias.

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