For the Salvation Military Boys and Women Membership of Aiken, summers are often stuffed with camps, area journeys and actions for as much as 100 youngsters.
Whereas the coronavirus pandemic has taken away the journeys and dropped the utmost variety of kids to 20, program administrator Lt. April Tiller mentioned the mission hasn’t modified.
“We wish to educate and encourage youngsters all through the summer time by applications,” Tiller mentioned. “We do it at a really low price to households who want it.”
The Boys and Women Membership has been in Aiken since 1995 and is considered one of over 4,300 throughout the nation. It builds its programming round 5 core areas of private improvement: character and management, schooling and profession, well being and life abilities, the humanities and sports activities, and health and recreation.
Because of the pandemic knocking out the final a part of the college 12 months, Tiller mentioned the group did extra website visits at houses. Membership staff helped youngsters with their tutorial work, particularly ones whose households couldn’t all the time be a useful resource.
“This epidemic has damage,” Tiller mentioned. “It’s been complicated for everybody, particularly the youthful technology.”
Govt Director Samantha Cheatham mentioned she desires youngsters to know that “whatever the scenario, you may flip it into one thing constructive.”
Cheatham mentioned she loves the membership’s mission assertion, and it’s a part of the explanation she joined the group. The assertion reads, “Our mission is to allow younger individuals, particularly those that want us most, to succeed in their full potential as productive, caring, accountable residents.”
“Certainly one of our essential objectives is to work with faculties to ensure youngsters don’t fall behind, and so they can get the after-school assist they want and have entry to expertise,” Tiller added.
Tiller mentioned one group the group works with is teenagers who’re liable to falling behind in class or socially and tells them that commerce faculty is all the time a selection if school isn’t within the playing cards.
“These youngsters are being instructed, ‘School, school, school,’ and so they say, ‘No, no, no,’ and we inform them there are different choices,” Tiller mentioned.
Tiller and her husband are commissioned Salvation Military officers. They’d a name from God to affix the Salvation Military in 2013, which led them to promote every little thing in Virginia Seashore and transfer. They got here to Aiken in 2018.
For the reason that Boys and Women Membership of Aiken is related to the Salvation Military, the connection permits the membership to have a spiritual element and to have use of the Salvation Military’s services. The membership additionally groups up with the Slavation Military at sure occasions, corresponding to serving to go out meals at a coronavirus testing occasion in New Ellenton on July 10.
Cheatham says she simply desires residents to know the membership exists.
“Not lots of people learn about it,” Cheatham mentioned. “We’re open, and we’re servicing kids. We’re right here to serve the wants of the neighborhood, particularly the youth.”
Tiller echoed her level by saying, “We’re right here for everyone, and we do the perfect we are able to to satisfy the wants of a kid or a household. We don’t wish to simply push our agenda. We wish to have the applications a toddler wants.”
For residents who wish to get entangled, Cheatham mentioned there are volunteer alternatives that may be discovered on the membership’s website or by calling the primary workplace at 803-226-0725.