Photo Caption: Reba Stewart of the Kiwanis Club of Dougherty County leads the January 11 BUG kick-off session at the North Jefferson Street Boys & Girls Club facility.
“Do you think you can achieve this goal of success?” Reba Stewart challenged.
As the question reached their ears, the hands of students around the room began to go up in response, a pledge to try to achieve an initial short-term goal that has the potential for an ultimate long-term impact on their lives.
The students, members of the Boys & Girls Club of Albany, were assembled at the North Jefferson Street club site for the kick-off of the BUG (Bring Up Grades) program. Stewart, a member of the Kiwanis Club of Dougherty County who works with SunTrust Bank, explained the program to them, as well as each student’s responsibility in reaching the program’s goal.
The Kiwanis Club of Dougherty County is coordinating with the Boys and Girls Club to implement BUG at each of B&GC’s 10 Albany school- or community-based sites. Bring Up Grades is designed to recognize students who raise their grades by one level (from failing to passing, D to C, C to B, or B to A) and maintain or continue to raise them from one grading period to another. Students who achieve this will be recognized by inclusion on a BUG honor roll, celebrated with a party, and presented an official recognition (a certificate or pin, for instance).
Stewart emphasized to the students that only BUG participants who reach that goal will be accorded the honors. Each student was asked to put his or her grade goal in writing and it was then posted on a special BUG bulletin board at the center.
According to B&GC director of operations Bob Hutchinson, who expressed appreciation to the Kiwanis Club of Dougherty County for working with the Boys & Girls Club to undertake the effort, the program is expected to reach out to some 725 students. While the students work toward their individual goals, the Kiwanians’ commitment includes supporting BUG through recognition events, providing awards, and establishing partnerships with local businesses to secure support for the program.
Corporate sponsors for the BUG program are Larry Price – Albany Winnelson; Lamar Parker – Parker Security & Investigative Services, Inc.; Dorene Parker – RE/MAX IN MOTION; Ed Deming – Boys and Girls Club of Albany, Inc.; Judy Varnell- Judy Varnell Law Firm; Chuck Darsey – Darsey Oil Company; Scott Brown – Brown Dethredge Insurance; Irma Whitten; Bill Crocker; Rob Routhier – F&W Forestry; and Fiveash Auto.
The short-term reward for the students hopefully will be improved grades, but a more intrinsic outcome could be that they learn the value and process of working toward goals as well as attain other developmental assets that will make them less likely to engage in risky or inappropriate behavior.
According to a statement released by the Boys & Girls Club, “Students will work more diligently because they enjoy participating in goal-setting to better their grades and, as a result, will be motivated to improve.” Students will also be given the chance to work with a partner or mentor, designated a “Super Bug”, to help reach their objective.
Stewart expressed the collective sentiment of the entire Kiwanis club when she told the students, “The Kiwanis Club of Dougherty County is excited about working with you guys” on the project.
SUGGESTED PHOTO CAPTIONS
A high-schooler posts student Bringing Up Grades goals on the BUG bulletin board at the Jefferson Street Boys & Girls Club.