Every fall, Young Men’s Service League (YMSL) organizes an all-chapter philanthropy event called the Ultimate Gift. The primary focus of the Ultimate Gift is to achieve a transformational impact for one philanthropy. This year, YMSL Coppell selected Bea’s Kids as their recipient. Bea’s Kids provides educational and personal development programs to children from low-income families. Their goal is to help kids stay in school and break the cycle of poverty.
The Ultimate Gift project was spearheaded by Blakely Robbins, Shelley Duron, Ellen Lazaroski and Wendy Blaas. YMSL mom Blakely Robbins shared what her experience with Ultimate Gift meant to her. She said, “Being new to theYMSL organization, the Bea’s Kids Ultimate Gift project was one of our initial experiences with volunteering and giving back to the community. Watching this project unfold from the planning stage to completion is something I will never forget. Transformation projects require a lot of hard work from everyone involved and take on a special meaning when providing for those in need and knowing it will make a difference in their lives. I look forward to seeing what next year’s Ultimate Gift project will give to others and participating to make it successful.”
Bea’s Kids will now operate out of a 2 bedroom apartment that was previously used as storage at the Villas de la Colonia apartment complex in Carrollton. The goal of Ultimate Gift was to clean and update the apartment into a usable space for students. The project was spread over 3 Saturdays in October. Members signed up for two hour shifts and could choose from three different phases. Phase one included removal of all existing contents and cleaning the unit. Phase two included painting all walls and shelves gray, white, yellow and black. Phase three was delivery and set up of furniture and accessories. YMSL mom Shelley Duron said, “The experience of this transformation has truly been an act of teamwork by those who participated in all roles. The success was enormous thanks to all of the volunteers who helped to bring it to completion.”
YMSL had a $5000 budget for the project. This allowed them to purchase paint, furniture, lighting fixtures, window blinds, desks, shelves, artwork and even a refrigerator. The entire project was completed by over 125 mothers and sons and took over 250 hours to complete. Hayden MacArthur with YMSL said, “I recently had the privilege to serve on this amazing project. When I arrived, we got to work immediately by taping up parts of the wall for painting. It was a lot of fun to contribute to the room and be able to see how much this project will help these kids.”
The space was entirely transformed. The updates include more seating and workspace for students and tutors. There is also a space for tween and young teens to gather. One room is designated as a study area, complete with desk top computers. There is also a room that is a gathering space with chairs, a sofa and a coffee table. The result is not only an updated space for students to receive homework help; it allows Bea’s Kids to offer a safe place for tweens and teens to gather after school. YMSL mom Ellen Lazaroski said “working on this project in the midst of the apartment community and seeing their interest and enthusiasm really made the project meaningful. The transformation was truly amazing.”
YMSL will continue to serve Bea’s Kids as tutors. This includes helping the kids with their homework and other studies. This is a win-win for YMSL and Bea’s Kids as it gives YMSL boys a chance to individually impact another person and allows the students at Bea’s Kids to connect with and learn from a peer. PJ Lazaroski said “it really puts things in perspective.”
Bea’s Kids is a non-profit organization that provides hundreds of kindergarten through 12th grade students a safe, structured environment to receive assistance with homework, guidance on personal development issues, encouragement to read books and the opportunity to practice self-discipline while building leadership skills. For more information on Bea’s Kids, go to www.beaskids.org.
YMSL is a non-profit organization that initiates and encourages young men and their mothers to pursue philanthropic involvement in their community and provides and opportunity to enhance mother/son relationships. For more information on YMSL, go to http://ymslnational.org.