Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

December 2, 2012

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Shannon Alexander helping children make great futures

GOSHEN —  Shannon Alexander helps make a difference with school-age children in Elkhart County.

She served with The Boys & Girls Club of Goshen for four and a-half-years before becoming director of corporate marketing and communications for The Boys & Girls Clubs of Elkhart County last year.

“I did special events and fundraising, as in auctions, golf outings, trivia nights and similar events for the Goshen club,” Alexander said. “The trivia nights, I enjoyed seeing people interact with each other and their camaraderie in a competitive way for the good of our local children.”

The largest event for the club was called Bids for Kids and brought people from the county and outlying counties together, she said.

“It was a platform to spread the mission of what Boys & Girls Clubs are all about on a local level,” Alexander added.

Her job for the Goshen club included marketing and media relations, and then she was tapped on the shoulder to do it countywide.

“I do media and public relations, and the website and Facebook administrator,” she said. “In communications, I do our internal newsletter for staff and it’s called ‘Club Insides’ and an e-newsletter to supporters called ‘Club Matters.’ It’s exciting to tell the story of what we do for the advancement of children to the public.”

The tag line for the Boys & Girls Clubs is “Great Futures Start Here.”

“I have the exciting job of telling how great futures start here,” Alexander said. “I enjoy my job. It’s an honor and to be able to take the face and story of a child to a larger platform is a very exciting thing. We serve thousands county-wide. That’s a lot of stories and a lot of children being bettered. They are given hope and taught opportunity.”

The Clubs are a youth-developed dynamic agency providing activities for children through the arts, athletics, academic and homework help with after-school programs and all-day programs in the summer, she said.

“We provide a healthy afternoon snack and we teach drug and alcohol avoidance,” she added. “The children are from 6 to 18 and must be in school, public or home schooled. This gives them a second home, a place known by their name and circumstance. We have caring adult professionals to guide the children toward being good citizens.”

There are clubs in Elkhart, Goshen, Middlebury and Nappanee.

“It’s an amazing program because lives are changed on a daily basis and everyone on staff has the same fervency to do right by the children,” Alexander said. “It’s exciting to educate the staff on what other clubs are doing and it builds camaraderie between staff countywide — to tell the story collectively of what we do —  to the community and those we serve.”

She said she’s encouraged by how much the public supports the clubs and the work done on behalf of the children.

Each child pays $15 for a year membership.

“It takes approximately $500 for all the services we do for each child per year and that’s where the community support comes in to bridge that gap,” Alexander said. “We appreciate the generosity of our supporters to help us serve the more than 2,500 children that are our members because many of them can’t help themselves.”

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Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

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