Ray’s Blog

GBBGC’s Torch Club

A big part of our mission at Grenville Baker Boys & Girls Club is to give our kids a sense of confidence, competence and belonging. One of the most powerful vehicles for helping our young people to develop strong values and self-esteem is our Torch Club. As a nationally chartered leadership and service club for boys and girls ages 11 to 13, Torch Club reaches children at a critical stage in their lives.

At weekly meetings throughout the school year, Torch members identify service projects and then actively participate in their planning and execution under the guidance of their advisor, Danielle Laria. These service projects provide experience in the democratic process with each member having an opportunity to express their opinion and to cast their vote. Above all, Torch Club gives our young people a chance to give back and to contribute something of value to their community.

In the fall, the Club focused on helping children with special needs including the Theresa Academy in October and the Pal-o-mine Equestrian facility in November. The experience was rewarding, giving our Torch members the chance to see firsthand what other children cope with every day. They also visited with Veterans in Syosset on Veterans’ Day, expressing their thanks to these wonderful men and women. In December and January, the Club focused on less fortunate adults, serving dinner at the Men’s Shelter in Glen Cove and at the Peanut Butter Gang Soup Kitchen. Working at a soup kitchen and food pantry encouraged the kids to count their blessings and to realize how fortunate they are.

In February, the members organized a St. Valentine’s Day Dance at the Rosewood on the Sound assisted living facility in Bayville. The kids brought decorations they made and compiled a playlist of songs they thought the seniors would like. The kids danced and chatted with the residents, making sure everyone had a good time.

In March, the kids turned to one of their favorite charities, one that helps abused and neglected animals, the Freeport Animal Shelter. Using recycled materials, the teens made cat and dog toys. They brought them to the Shelter, played with the dogs and cats, and made a donation to benefit the animals. Another area of focus for the Torch Club was the environment. The kids visited the Sophia Garden, an organic farm that grows food for low income families. The Torch Club toured the farm and helped to plant seeds in April.

We are so proud of our Torch Club and know that they are well on their way to becoming the community leaders of tomorrow. Our Torch Club teaches young teens about setting goals and achieving them. It helps them to realize that they can make a difference and that by working together, they can achieve great things.