Learn from yesterday, live for today and hope for tomorrow

Learn from yesterday, live for today  and hope for tomorrow

The Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club of Beaumont will host its initial Hope for Tomorrow Luncheon and Style Show on Thursday, Aug. 23, at the Beaumont Garden Center at Tyrrell Park. Community members are urged to come out and support this important work with the boys and girls of our area who will be the leaders of the future.

The afternoon will provide fashion, food, fellowship and, very importantly, the necessary fundraising to see that this work not only continues, but also expands to meet the needs of our growing population.

“The theme, ‘Learn from yesterday, live for today, and hope for tomorrow,’ will bring together lessons learned from the past, setting goals for today, and reaching out with great hope for a brighter tomorrow for all our youth,” said Judy Kelfstrom, event coordinator and The Salvation Army regional resource development coordinator.

The event has been planned to help raise funds and awareness for the much needed expansion of the Boys and Girls Club building at 2350 Interstate 10 E.

“We simply need additional space,” said Kelfstrom, “to bring in the boys and girls that need to be in these programs. We have parents who wish to enroll their children and we must say no when we have no more room to house the programs.”

The youth programs and services offered by The Salvation Army, including education, nutrition, the arts and athletics, necessitate an expansion of the existing facilities by an additional 10,600 square feet. The new addition will house a teen center, multipurpose center large enough to serve as a game room and dining area, art and music and learning center classrooms, a large computer lab, a library and a full-service kitchen.

Organizers believe that this proposed addition would dramatically enhance efforts to provide the very best afterschool and summer programs available to the youth of Beaumont. Many celebrities and leaders in the business community point to their participation in a Boys or Girls Club as the turning point in their youth.

The Hope for Tomorrow luncheon begins at 10:45 a.m. when guests will be invited to shop gently used merchandise and new items in the silent auction. The luncheon and style show is from 11:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. Bando’s Catering of Beaumont will provide the lunch and Angel San Juan will serve as master of ceremonies.

Macy’s is providing fashions for guest models, BISD students and members of the Boys and Girls Club. Birdie Harrison, BISD coordinator of Guidance Services, said that each student selected to model was nominated by a teacher for academic achievement and community service during the 2011-12 school year. Guests will also enjoy seeing local celebrities model. People to look for are Betty Greenberg, Marty Craig, Angela Baker, Marcia Stevens, Jackie Simien and some very handsome models from the 100 Black Men Organization.

“The welfare of young people has always been my primary concern,” said Evelyn Lord, former mayor of Bea umont and advisory member of The Salvation Army. “Although our community offers many youth programs, there is nothing else that fills the bill for low- to moderate-income families like the every-afternoon opportunities available at The Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club. This luncheon is a new, refreshing and fun way for the community to help and support the growth of these clubs.”

“Our afterschool program currently picks up kids from nine public schools (Homer, Roy Guess, Jones Clark, Martin, Pietzch-MacArthur, Charlton Pollard, and Fehl-Price elementary schools, and Smith and South Park middle schools). We also have an extension site that serves kids in Caldwood Elementary,” said Michael Perez, executive director of the Boys and Girls Club in Beaumont. “Our summer day camp and sports programs serve kids in every elementary school in the district.”

Perez added, “While that is a great achievement, we still lack programs for teens. That is about to change. The teen center will not just be about an open gym and sports. We’re talking about daily mentorship and access to help with homework, school projects, computer and technology resources, and a full gamut of work and college readiness, as well as leadership development programs.”

Majors Floiran and Eloisa Estrada of The Salvation Army in Beaumont know the importance of providing opportunities for young people. Having left communist Cuba some 20 years ago, they eagerly support Perez in his dream of expanding the club to include teens.

The luncheon committee is comprised of Judy Kelfstrom, coordinator; Alberta Jones, Dora Nisby, Pat Barker, Tina Breland, Georgia Dunlap, Joanna Estrada, Eloisa Estrada, Shelly Vitanza, Evelyn Lord and Birdie Harrison.

Individual tickets are $50 and must be purchased in advance by Aug. 17. The Beaumont Garden Center is in the Beaumont Botanical Gardens at Tyrrell Park off Fannett Road in Beaumont. For more information, contact judy_kelfstrom [at] uss [dot] salvationarmy [dot] org.

Brenda Cannon Henley can be reached at (409) 781-8788 or at brendacannonhenley [at] yahoo [dot] com.