Grenville Baker and the Locust Valley Community – May 20, 2020
Each year, Memorial Day is a time to count our blessings and to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Here at Grenville Baker Boys & Girls Club, we are constantly reminded that one of our greatest blessings is our community. Even in the face of a pandemic, local residents have been reaching out, finding ways to work together to help those in need.
Our community has a history of coming together to solve each new challenge. Beginning with the Matinecock Neighborhood Association at the turn of the 20th Century, residents worked together to improve the roads and to establish a fire department. They went on to build the Matinecock Neighborhood House (that later became the Library) and the Locust Valley Fire House. After WWII, their sense of service moved community members to form Operation Democracy to send much needed relief to a “sister city” in France and, closer to home, to found the American Legion Howard Van Wagner Post 962 for veterans, and to build the Grenville Baker Boys & Girls Club for our children.
Throughout its history, the Club has maintained this local tradition of coming together and has worked collaboratively with many of our local institutions. We partner with the Locust Valley Rotary, the Chamber of Commerce, nearby schools and all our amazing volunteers. To expand the horizons of our young readers, we partner with the Locust Valley Library, where our members enjoy a reading club. When our young participants need to learn to swim, they are welcomed to the Y, our Club’s partner in the Buddy Winslow Swim Program.
In the wake of COVID-19, the Club has become a founding member of NOSH joining St. John’s Church of Lattingtown and other local groups. NOSH is a community-based organization created to provide support for the food insecure in our area. With many people losing their jobs, our community has once again come together to address a need. Concerned citizens have joined forces through NOSH to safely and responsibly deliver food where it is needed, within the parameters and guidelines prescribed by state and local authorities.
Following this example, our Club members in turn are learning to collaborate at a young age, working with other groups to give back to their community. This past month our Keystone Club helped with NOSH as well as joining our Torch Club and grade school kids to send special hand-made thank you cards to our frontline responders. In the past our service clubs have worked with the North Shore Land Alliance, Habitat for Humanity, Wounded Warriors, the Salvation Army and others.
Locust Valley is a wonderful place to grow up and to call home. In all my years living here, I have been so impressed. Not only is our town beautiful to look at, but at its heart, it has a strong foundation of community spirit. Our children benefit from this foundation and from the outpouring of love and support the community shows in times of need.