TAG, You're It!

Official Dosomething.org Project

The Problem

Brooks County is a sparsely populated, economically depressed community located between Lowndes and Thomas counties in South Georgia. As in many depressed communities, few opportunities are provided for youth. With the tremendous need for services and school-age care in Quitman and Brooks County, the Boys & Girls Club of Valdosta seeks to continue our efforts in serving children and teens in the non-school hours. The need for services a Boys and Girls Club provides has never been more prevalent: Local Statistics reveal • 87% of the students attending Quitman Elementary are economically disadvantaged • Only 62.8 % of the adult population in Quitman have a high school degree • The graduation rate for Brooks County is 71.1%. and although we have seen increases for the last two years we are still far less than the State average of 80.8% • In 2010 19% of graduating seniors in Brooks county were eligible for the Hope Scholarship compared to the State rate of 38.1% • During the 2010 school year 66.7% of ninth graders at BCHS were on track to graduate compared to the State average of 73.8 • BCHS met only five of the nine standards for AYP • The Crime index reported for Quitman (726) is more than twice the National average (321.8). A problem that our Brooks County Teen Center faces is community involvement. Most of the residents know about the Boys & Girls Club but are unaware of its mission, leaving a void for growth in the Club and community. Also, there has been a noticeable presence of a racial divide within the community. Our current Teen Center is in the low-income section of town, which makes it difficult to gain support. The point of this program is to not only bring in community awareness, but to foster racial healing and build unity. The Club’s mission is to inspire and enable all young people, no matter what race, to realize their full potential as moral, responsible, caring and productive citizens. I believe that if the community is aware of what the Club can do, by using the ‘TAG, You’re It!’ program, it can be very beneficial to the future of Brooks County.

Plan of Action

One group that stands out at the Boys & Girls Club of Brooks County is The Teen Advisory Group (TAG). TAG is made up of Boys & Girls Club members who want to plan and lead events for students at the Teen Center. TAGs mission statement is to represent and support the diverse voices of the Brooks County community. The TAG group focuses on further enhancing the community by serving as links between Teens and the community by developing ideas, implementing Teen programs and encouraging Teen involvement. The ‘TAG, You’re It!’ program will be implemented by our TAG members. We believe that using our TAG group to promote this new program, it will not only expand the Club’s outreach in the community, but also increase awareness through memberships, donations, and collaborations with other organizations. Our TAG program will act as a liaison for teen issues to other governmental, non-profit and private organizations, as well as serving as a resource and advocate to the community on teen issues. As a member of the Teen Advisory Group, our youth are expected to make recommendations to the staff at the Brooks County Center about the execution of teen programs, facilities, activities and services. They receive and evaluate input from the community, especially other teens and organizations on issues relevant to teen programming. Recent events that our TAG groups have participated in are community clean-up days and a car-wash fundraiser to help a local family that lost everything to a fire. Funding for this program will allow our youth to participate, develop, and implement more community events. ‘TAG, You’re It!’ will focus on sharing the vision and commitment to building a safer, stronger, and better educated Brooks County.

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