VOLUNTEER: The Boys and Girls Clubs of the Fox Valley

Monday, October 19, 2015

Boys and Girls Clubs

This summer, hundreds of children had the opportunity to attend field trips through the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Fox Valley. Photo credit: Joseph Quinnell

Contributor: Joseph Quinnell, Community Volunteer

My introduction to the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Fox Valley began when I met a frightened child seeking shelter from abuse. In her eyes was desperation and tears, but in her hands was a yellow pocket-sized tri-fold of information called the ‘Street Smart Resource Guide’. Later, when it was confirmed that the child was safe from further harm, I studied this guide, realized it was a product of the B&G Clubs of the Fox Valley and wanted to know more.

The guide was connected to a B&G Clubs program called Runaway and Homeless Youth Services. This free confidential response service includes “24-hour support, guidance and counseling for runaway or homeless youth and their families, conflict mediation and a Runaway Hotline”.

In March of 2015, I began volunteering as a therapy dog handler at the B&G Clubs through another vital program serving the Fox Valley: The Center for Grieving Children (CGC).  The CGC is a “safe place for children, teens and their families to find compassionate peer support, engage in commemorative activities, gain information about the grieving process and express feelings and experiences in an accepting environment”. I’ve witnessed this program both as a volunteer and as the foster parent of a child who suffered a loss. The healing that comes to the families visiting the CGC is evident.

When the new Menasha branch opened its doors, I explored this incredible facility from top to bottom and signed up to be a volunteer immediately. Over the course of the summer, I served as a field trip chaperone where school buses delivered hundreds of children from the Neenah/Menasha area to learn about turtles, butterflies and spiders at the Heckrodt Nature Reserve. The Menasha B&G Club gave children the opportunity to explore the inside of the human heart, take the controls of the cockpit of an airplane and suit up as firefighters, working as a team to unravel a water hose at The Building for Kids Children’s Museum. Whether it was zipping around at Skater’s Edge Roller Rink, bobbing about at a community pool or feeding giraffes at the NEW Zoo, the Menasha branch gave children an exemplary Club Experience filled with learning and fun. I know I had a great time!

And I’m just scratching the surface of the importance of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Fox Valley. To learn more, please visit their website.

Both personally and professionally I attempt to live my life the "united way". I GIVE what I can; ADVOCATE for those in need around me and VOLUNTEER as often as I’m able.

If you’d like to become a volunteer for the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Fox Valley, please contact the Club’s volunteer coordinator, Ronda Seubert at: (920) 750-5846.

 About the contributor: Joseph Quinnell lives in Appleton, WI and was the executive director and co-founder of The Thailand Project from July 2005 – 2014. For the past year, Quinnell has been a full-time graduate student earning his Master’s Degree in Human Services Leadership from UW-Oshkosh. Quinnell is also a licensed foster parent through Outagamie County and volunteers his time as a therapy dog handler and field trip chaperone for the B&G Clubs of the Fox Valley.