The Boys & Girls Club pilot program in Hayden Elementary offered fun, after-school activities. The children above were all smiles as they participated in the unique art form using shaving cream!—Submitted Photo
A partnership with the Boys & Girls Club (BGC) of Seymour and local elementary schools has emerged from a pilot program that launched earlier this year.
Now, the two organizations plan to bring quality children's after-school programming to several elementary schools here, as well as in Jackson County.
In January 2020, the Seymour BGC began a pilot program for reading and math in Hayden and Graham Creek Elementary Schools, which was provided free thanks to local donors. The Seymour BGC did not see a reduction in attendance despite COVID-19 and have not had any outbreak cases among its members, though the Hayden and Graham Creek programs were cut short due to the pandemic.
Until now, BGC did not have a lasting presence in Jennings County, though the Jennings County Youth Foundation has extensively tried to start an initiative to bring the Club to JC.
According to JC Youth Foundation President Casey Ernstes, the JCYF began the initiative to bring a Boys & Girls Club to Jennings County several years ago. There are several steps that are required to get a Boys & Girls Club. Andre Arrington, the BGC of America representative for JCYF, helped them through the process.
Ernstes said they began by doing a Community Readiness Assessment and that 83% of those surveyed agreed the community needed a youth center here.
After evaluating other data-driven factors within the school system, such as approximately 60 percent of students in almost every JC school using the Free and Reduced Lunch Program, it was evident that an after-school program offering physical and emotional support to children is necessary.
In order to proceed, the JCYF had to make some changes to strengthen their organization and get their name out in the community more. Last year, it was announced to the public that they were working to bring a Boys & Girls Club to Jennings County and the foundation began working with Ryon Wheeler, Executive Director from the Boys & Girls Club in Seymour.
"We worked with Ryon to identify where we could use programming and helped him launch the (Hayden and Graham Creek) program," said Ernstes. "We also raised the $15,000 needed to start the program in January."
It took a while, but Christy Boyce's fears about an insect that flew into her home have now been put to rest.
Ray Sease, the man who fired up the local blacksmithing scene, was recognized for his dedication and commitment to this centuries old craft last month.
Forests are once again covered in vibrant green foliage as spring blossomed and cleared the path for summer throughout the state, and many people are in desperate need of fresh air. For those who reside in Jennings County, there are plenty of places to take a walk and enjoy the scenery. If you find yourself at Selmier State Forest, near St. Annes Golf Course on 905 E CR 350 N in North Vernon, you may run into the new property manager Ben McKinney.
What better time to "Imagine Your Story" than right now?
In the Class of 2020, Jennings County High School had at least 10 graduates who plan to continue their athletic careers in college. A few of the schools they will be attending include Purdue University-Fort Wayne, Franklin College and Hanover College.
Deb Hofelich shed tears when she laid a flower by the body of brown hound dog that didn't have a chance. Earlier that day, it had been hit by a vehicle and killed near her home in the Two-Mile Creek subdivision.
"He was a handsome animal," Hofelich said, "the poor little fella."
Across the street, a little girl playing in her yard was also disheartened.
"I saw that dog walking around our neighborhood a couple of days ago," said Olivia Sharp, 6. "It makes me sad that he is dead. What happened to him?"