New leadership has come to the Boys & Girls Club of Trinity, and with it, new direction.
Since September 2016, David V. LaVassuar has taken on the role of Chief Executive Officer. He comes to Trinity with over 15 years of experience leading Boys & Girls Clubs as Executive Director in multiple other Texas cities, such as Bay City and Bellville, and has also served as both Area Director and Unit Director for the Boys & Girls Club of Northeast Texas in Greenville.
Since its inception in 1999, the Trinity club has served over 2,000 members. Currently, an average of 65 children attend the Trinity Boys & Girls Club every day, and most recently, over 47 of members have seen improved grades in school as a result of their involvement in the Club’s tutoring program. The B&GC also hosts a variety of other programs, including the aforementioned homework assistance and tutoring, mentoring, a youth basketball program, anti-drug education, and art programs. Over 98% of funding goes directly to providing for the community's children through these and other programs, initiatives that LaVassaur has sought to expand and improve.
However, as LaVassaur would find, one of the big challenges of leading the Trinity B&GC is simply securing any funding at all. Overall, the Trinty B&GC only receives between $5,000 and $10,000 a year from the B&GC national office- approximately enough to rent a 3-bedroom house or feed 10 United States prison inmates for a year (though not both). A majority of the funding for Trinity's local chapter has always come from donations, with the problematic location of Trinity serving to greatly limit grant opportunities. With Trinity spaced evenly between Houston and Dallas, grant foundations are few and far between, and will often choose to migrate to one of the larger cities, a problem made all the worse by a nearly decade long drought in government funding of programs like the Boys & Girls Club.
In spite of these funding challenges, the B&GC is always willing to cooperate with the less fortunate seeking membership. Membership is $30 a year during the school year and $60 for the summer program, but scholarships and waivers are offered to families who cannot pay their fees.
"I just want the community to know that we're here to offer programs that meet the needs specifically for the community of Trinity,” LaVassaur said. "We're here for the community. We serve kids. If there's an issue with the youth, we want the school to call us, the churches to call us. We want to be involved in all areas of youth issues and development. We're here.”
Despite being a long standing supporter of the community, the B&GC remains an organization that relies heavily on community support in return. The staff is largely made up of college students from Huntsville, who will often have schedule conflicts and fail to appear for their shifts, and so the organization is always in need of volunteers to assist with the children after school. Part-time, 15-20 hour openings are now available for both male and female after school staff. Also, although the children admitted to the B&GC are a diverse batch, a particular concern among staff is the lack of minority males in mentor and staff positions. The B&GC is especially interested in finding black and hispanic males to mentor one or two hours per week, acting as present and visible role models for growing minority youths.
The Boys and Girl's Club's next fundraiser, a Valentine’s Day dinner and dance, will be held on the evening of Feb. 14 at the Trinity Community Center. The meet and greet begins at 5:30
which will include rib-eye steaks, baked potatoes, green bean casserole, salad, and rolls. The silent pie auction begins at 5:30 p.m. and the winners will be announced at 6:45 p.m. The live auction begins at 7:30 p.m. and will include five large items. There will also be a raffle drawing for Valentine’s Day baskets. Tickets are available for sale at Rollo’s Insurance, State Farm, or the Boys and Girls Club in Trinity.
The Boys & Girls Club of Trinity is fighting hard to improve the lives and futures of local children. According to LaVassaur, it's up to the parents of the community to take advantage of the programs provided and encourage their children to participate.
“Our club has seen some great moves forward in the past year or so. We believe we are now positioned for further growth in our membership, in the programs we offer, in the quality of the services we provide, and in the outcomes we achieve in member and parent satisfaction,” said Rich Chamberlin, Board President & Chief Volunteer Officer. “We are also working on ways to achieve much-needed building repairs and improvements and David is pursuing additional grants for future teen programs, an area of focus for Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Finally, our Board Improvement & Transformation initiatives are well underway. Improving, also, in our individual giving and fund raising will be a key for growth, now and in the months ahead."
Citizens who would like to make a donation to the Boys & Girls Club of Trinity are encouraged to deliver a check to the Boys and girls Club of Trinity, or mail their donations to P.O Box 665, Trinity, TX.