By Cassidy Pate, Correspondent
Un-Included Club, a Temple-based youth and non-profit organization, teamed up with Helping Hands Ministry of Belton for “Club Energize!” to fulfill their mutual missions of bringing positive learning and empowerment to the community’s children on June 12.
It was a messy afternoon of blowing bubbles, building blocks, making lip-gloss and creating slime, but there were enough smiles around the room to make up for it. “Club Energize!” is directed at Pre-K (age four) to eighth graders and is set to take place over the course of the summer.
Although Un-Included began in 2007, this is the first year the club has volunteered at Helping Hands, executive director Doree Collins said.
Because of this, Collins said Tuesday was more about introducing the volunteers to the visitors of Helping Hands, but Un-Included will be incorporating their Kids R.E.A.D. and ag programs, or growing micro greens, in the weeks to come.
With 10 volunteers present at Helping Hands to assist in the activities, Un-Included worked to shed a positive light for children of impoverished families. Seven volunteers serve as a part of Un-Included’s Jr. Leadership, which includes middle through high school students, while the remaining three are in the workforce.
“Our children are empowered to be un-included from the following: illiteracy, bullying, childhood obesity, drugs and alcohol, and giving up,” The Un-Included Club’s mission statement said.
It was obvious as the volunteers were attentive and eager to help the children with their crafts.
“I was always positive, but I see all the bad things, but when I saw that organization [Un-Included] I knew I fit in that one, so that’s why I started working here,” Trayven Collins, a volunteer since 2012, said.
Thus, Un-Included is not only about uplifting the community, but also creating a positive opportunity for the volunteers.
“We’re giving the middle schoolers and the high schoolers and above a chance to be more positive, which in turns makes the little kids think twice about what they’re doing,” Dani Brown, two-year volunteer for Un-Included said.
In an effort to reach more children and members of the community, the Un-Included volunteers set a goal to assist 500 people this summer. Alongside Helping Hands, the Un-Included Club’s “Club Energize!” will be catering to many other organizations in the area, such as Feed My Sheep, Ralph Wilson Youth Club, local parks and Free Children’s Clinic to demonstrate their mission and make an impact on the community.
Un-Included will be hosting “Club Energize!” at Helping Hands every Tuesday of the summer, excluding July 4.