Tag Seidman

Our programming team is continuously developing new, creative ways to recruit teens from the community. We know that our programs and mentorship provide crucial support, and the more teens we can draw to our clubs, the deeper the impact we can have. So Friday, October 11th, Seidman Center hosted its much anticipated Teen Party event.

In addition to aiding recruitment efforts, regular celebrations for teens support one of our core beliefs – to give youth opportunities to lead, share ideas, and be recognized. For each teen party, we empower our Keystone Clubs, an association of teen members working to develop leadership skills through community service, to plan and organize the event. From the food we provide to the activities we facilitate, the decision making and organization are all done by our teen leaders.

Responding to the requests of our Keystone Club, staff and teens worked together to provide our teen members with activities tailored to kids of diverse interests. Music and dancing, the headline event, drew the largest crowd, but henna and face paint provided by our art team gave our more artistically inclined members time to express themselves and build relationships with each other. Meanwhile, in the gym, Seidman Gym Coordinator Gene McCully facilitated a 3-on-3 basketball tournament that brought in 8 teams. After two hours of intense, hard-nosed play, first, second, and third place teams left the club with sore legs, pride, and bags full of candy. Staff from our Steil and Paul I. Phillips Clubs transported their teen members to the event at Seidman, helping to build ties between teens from different parts of the community.

We were grateful for the support from key community partners. Dre Inspires, a company run by a former staff member at Seidman, deejayed the event, creating a light show and dance floor that kept the kids on their feet for the duration of the party. Officer Mike Harris, whose connections to the community are the stuff of lore, reached deep into his address book to find Ms. Josie, a local caterer who graciously made tacos for over 100 people at a discounted price, to rave reviews.

Altogether, the celebration at Seidman Center brought in over 30 new memberships, a wildly successful turnout. But this is when the real work begins. Fun parties and celebrations bring the community in, but it’s the relationships, the mentorship, and the interest-based programming that help us fulfill our mission.

Read More

It’s four months into our garden project at Seidman, and I still get the same question nearly every day.

“What’s that?” They say, pointing to our peppers or tomatoes. They run over, inspect the plants, feel the texture of the leaves, run their hands through the soil, and smell the plant and its fruit. They pepper staff with questions revealing that deep and sincere curiosity that only children have. How long does it take to grow? How many plants do we have? Have you eaten them yet? How do the tomatoes taste?

They ask about the compost, too. What’s in it? Why do we do it? How does it work? And, oh look, worms!

The compost and garden projects are a perfect example of successful programming. It’s a microcosm of our organization, encapsulating many of the essential elements that help us serve our community.

It introduces something novel and encourages our members to dig deeper, metaphorically, and, well, sometimes literally. These projects spark critical conversations about healthy lifestyles and good citizenship, two of our primary programming goals. It’s also a response to real needs in our community. Access to healthy, pesticide free, non-GMO foods remains a significant challenge facing urban communities, and our garden, however small, helps us raise awareness of this issue with our members. Our compost helps us show our members a more environmentally friendly and sustainable way to dispose of waste, too. Both of these issues are taking on increasing importance, and the earlier we bring them to our members’ attention, the better.

And through these programs, we’ve been able to reinforce ties with neighboring organizations, such as Urban Roots, which provided critical knowledge and materials at the onset of our composting project. Their support, and the support of other businesses and organizations, was crucial and helped us provide our members with the best programming possible.

Perhaps most importantly, these projects were fun. From painting our buckets to harvesting our vegetables, the project contained many different elements that catered to kids’ various interests. Next year we plan on expanding our garden project and diversifying our crop supply, and we expect participation to be even bigger. With a little luck and some rain, we will start a cooking class in the club with our very own, naturally grown vegetables to further encourage healthy lifestyles among our members.

We hope that community partners will be with us again next year, committed to supporting our mission and our work.

Visit our Donor or Volunteer pages to get involved.

Read More