By Kierra Pixler, Managing Editor
Improvements in self-concept can go a long way when it comes to keeping children out of trouble. One Temple man set off to make that his goal. When East Temple resident Garfield Hawk noticed that some of the kids in his neighborhood were being left unsupervised, he began that mission with a basketball hoop and a few balls. Noticing the increase in teenage pregnancy, illiteracy, obesity and crime rates, Hawk began the Un-Included Club. Incorporating everything from sports to cooking classes to educational studies, the club provides the kids with the opportunity to interact with the community and reduces their vulnerability to negative influences.
Club president Doree Collins has taught early childhood and also held an administrative position for after-school programs in Temple. She plays a key role by engaging youth in the learning process by providing opportunities to explore interests, gain competency in real-world skills, assume leadership roles, connect to adult role models and mentors, and become involved in improving their communities.
“There are three things that we really focus on,” Collins said. “One is how do we find symbiotic relationships. That means that if we connect with somebody, ‘how is it going to work for them and how is it going to work for us.’ Two, we stay with what we call a we-opic mindset, which means we think about everybody; everything that we do effects the whole team, not just ourselves. The last thing we really focus on is value adding. How are we a value add to our community?”
Collins expressed the clubs need for help in all different aspects. From mentors to volunteers to read to the children, she encourages the community to reach out.
“I am in need of people who can help us build,” Collins said. “People who can come in and help organize what we’re doing. There are some great things going on and because we have so much buy in and community partnerships, I feel like if we can organize it, it can be something a lot bigger than I even ever imagined. We also need entrepreneurs who have built their organization or business from the ground up. They can tell us what they have done right and what they have done wrong and in turn, help our junior leadership be successful entreprenuers.”
The organization has an out of school-time enrichment program that meets on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays and is focused on programming led by the middle and high school junior leadership. The junior leadership use their afternoons and weekends for planning meetings, outreach opportunities, community garden work and teaching opportunities in local parks and other clubs like Ralph Wilson Youth Club. The out of school-time enrichment program is time dedicated to the Jr. Leadership fulfilling their program goals and Un-Included Club’s mission: To be un-included from childhood obesity, illiteracy and giving up. For more information, visit The Un-Included Club’s Facebook page to find out what the Junior Leaderships goals are.
“My purpose is to teach the kids the process,” Collins said. “A lot of our kids don’t understand now that there truly is a process to greatness.”
For more information on The Un-Included Club, please call 254-217-2635 or visit their website at https://www.unincluded.org.