By Cheryl Queen
Lake Shore-Severna Park Rotary Club
The Lake Shore-Severna Park Rotary Club has partnered with the Freetown Village Boys and Girls Club of Pasadena. Over the last year, our partnership has grown strong and has become a community outreach commitment for our Rotary club. The Rotary chose the Boys and Girls Club because we wanted to make a difference in the lives of youth, who are in a productive, safe, secure and — most of all — fun atmospheres but would otherwise be at-risk. This group benefits from our club’s continual focus on youth opportunities. Our 70-year-old Rotary club started with this focus and has continued over the years. The Freetown Village Boys and Girls Club provides that focus.
The Lake Shore-Severna Park Rotary Club originally got involved by giving the Pasadena Boys and Girls Club a makeover. The Rotary members worked with Ace Hardware Pasadena, PC Repair, Pasadena Floors and the Anne Arundel County Food Bank and gave the club a fresh coat of paint and new flooring, and cleaned and upgraded their laptops and computers with the latest Microsoft Windows and anti-virus software. We also brought in chairs and bookcases to provide an inviting space, ready for homework and after-school activities. A direct result of the food bank providing furniture was a food pantry being established in the Freetown Village Boys and Girls Club. The pantry is still in operation today and has expanded the outreach to the residents of Freetown Village!
Working with the club’s director, Angela White, we sent nine boys to the Rotary District’s 2018 Junior Rotary Youth Leadership Academy (RYLA) at the 4-H Club in Chevy Chase. Because the Boys and Girls Club has van transportation, it has allowed the youth to experience, through Rotary, activities that enhanced their individual characters. The boys thought they were going to have a school-like experience at RYLA, but instead, they had a great time learning leadership skills with approximately 75 other youth from other clubs in Rotary District 7620. Because of the positive experience, the Boys and Girls Club has already committed its youth to attend the 2019 RYLA.
When Rotary International president-elect Ian H.S. Riseley made the case that protecting the environment and curbing climate change are essential to Rotary’s goal of sustainable service, he challenged every Rotary club to make a difference by planting a tree between the start of the Rotary year on July 1, 2017 and Earth Day on April 22, 2018. Trees remove carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from the air, which slows global warming. This past summer, the Lake Shore-Severna Park Rotary Club partnered with the Magothy River Association to plant trees in Beachwood Park.
We called the Boys and Girls Club to help plant trees. The tree planting project was a big success for youth from the Boys and Girls Club, many of whom had never planted trees or shoveled before. They learned about tree planting from the Magothy River Association members and learned how the southern yellow pines (or similar trees) benefit the Maryland blue heron birds that use those trees for nesting sites. The kids were told to come back in 15 years, bring their families and be able to say ‘Hey, I planted that tree with the Rotary.”
Finally, because of the positive support we’ve gotten from Ms. White and the participation from Freetown Boys and Girls Club youth, our Rotary Club invited the members to our annual crab feast at Kurtz’s Beach. Again, exposure to an event like a crab feast was so exciting for them. With all the crabs, food and desserts, they enjoyed themselves immensely. It was also a good time to meet other Rotary members from clubs in Anne Arundel County.
The Lake Shore-Severna Park Rotary Club’s goal is to bring awareness of our motto “Service Above Self” to the Freetown Village Boys and Girls Club.
We are always looking for volunteers to continue our club’s vibrant efforts to provide service to our community. For more information, contact John Clark, member opportunities chair, for an invitation to one of our dinners at Bella Napoli. He can be reached at john@email@example.com. Additional information on Rotary is also online at www.rotarycluboflakeshore.org.