By Erik Kramer, Director
What has transpired in Joplin, Missouri over the last few weeks has certainly been difficult to watch, difficult to hear about and difficult to digest. As a Boys & Girls Club here in Lakewood, we recognize that we are part of a larger family. A family that extends across the nation to thousands of Boys & Girls Clubs. As the tragedy in Joplin began to unfold, we couldn’t help but think of the Club in Joplin and how it was being affected. One of our staff decided to reach out to the Club and heard back in response that “all their staff had survived, although a handful had lost everything, home and all, and several of their kids had been killed.”
This shook me to the very core when contemplating how this would make me feel if it happened to our kids. For this reason, I asked our staff to help make some cards to send to the staff in Joplin letting them know that we were supporting of them and thinking of them. Our staff then decided to have kids do the same. When our staff brought me the cards, I began to read them and was filled with such emotion as I read what our kids wrote. They were so kind, delicate and compassionate with how much effort and how much of their own heart they put into these cards. They stated things like “We are with you”, “You are not alone”, “The sun will shine again, keep smiling”, “We love you Joplin”.
As a Boys & Girls Club, we are focused on trying to help young people reach their full potential as productive, CARING, and responsible citizens. If I ever wonder if we are teaching our kids to be caring, I know that I can just remember these cards and be reassured that the message is sinking in deeper than I could ever imagine!
-Erik Kramer is Director of the Gary & Carol Milgard Family HOPE Center, Boys & Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound, Lakewood Branch