People always surprise me!

This week, Jill Angel, Lake Street Unit Director from the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Kalamazoo is our guest blogger. The Boys and Girls Clubs have been a great partner of ours and we are thrilled to have her share a story about what's going on with their organization. ----------------------------------------

I long and hard about a theme for my blog, and came to the above theme because it describes all of my experiences I have had working at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kalamazoo. I mainly work with kids, and their imagination and wisdom keeps me on my toes all day.

This particular story has to do with a generous longtime parent of the Club. As some of you may know, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kalamazoo has been around for over 50 years, and since that time we have done a lot with our building. When we built the Douglass Unit, our Lake St Campus’s main room was painted to match the Douglass Unit to bring some consistency with the two units. Since then we have painted two other rooms.

At the end of this summer, Bob Ezelle our executive director was approached by one of the parents, Willie Starks, who works for the Lowes. I wasn’t in the meeting, but the result was that we were able to pick paint colors for our art room, studio, and all purpose room. As you can imagine, we were so excited because we were able to break free of the white walls!

The story gets better because Lowes donated the paint to us, then the workers and managers used their vacation days to paint the rooms. They also replaced old ceiling tiles in all three of those rooms. The biggest surprise happened when, one day, I drove into the parking lot and saw the manager of Lowes raking and pulling leaves in front of our building. I noticed that the landscaping looked different. There was new cedar mulch, all the bushes were trimmed and the trash was all picked up. The manager was standing there with his rake in his hand, and he asked me what I thought. I was speechless, because there were so many times that I wanted to work on our landscaping and so many times that I just didn’t have the time or, let’s be honest, the energy.

The end of the story is that we have three brightly colored rooms with new ceiling titles. We have a beautiful front lawn, which all came from people in our community giving back to our kids. People really do surprise me in how much they care in this community. We all need to be grateful that we live in Kalamazoo! We are forever grateful to Lowes, and the words “Thank You” will never be enough. Just a little TLC on our building made a huge difference, it got everyone excited again. Yay! For the new school year!

- Jill Angel