By: Duane Blankenship | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: December 2013
Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club of Broken Arrow is a benefactor from the generous gifts received during the annual Ring the Bells for Christmas Kettles Campaign. (L to R): Captain Mike Lucas, Program Director Sa’Quita Burrell and Unit Director Dustin Blackmon.
You are probably aware of some of the remarkable work done by the Salvation Army, but likely have no idea of their total outreach, not only across our country, but in Broken Arrow. The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club of Broken Arrow has a simple mission statement: to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Captain Mike Lucas, Program Director Sa’Quita Burrell and Unit Director Dustin Blackmon are committed to making this happen. Nearly 100,000 faces pass through the doors of the Broken Arrow club each year.
“Our organization has been blessed with an opportunity to increase funding for all Salvation Army programs, but we have found ourselves in a dilemma despite the blessing,” said Captain Lucas. “We have doubled the number of kettle locations to 40 this season, but have been unable to hire additional employees to assist us. We desperately need employees and volunteer organizations willing to assist in the Christmas kettle activity.”
Counter Kettles are placed at Arby’s, Arvest Bank, Rib Crib, and Merritt’s Bakery. There are outdoor kettle sites at Neighborhood Market, Walgreens, Wal-Mart, Big Lots, Reasor’s, Michael’s, Warehouse Market, Hobby Lobby and BassPro Shops. This year’s goal is $225,000. If you, your civic organization, church or club is interested in helping, please contact the Salvation Army of Broken Arrow.
Monies raised from “Ring the Bells for Christmas Kettles” benefits many Salvation Army programs, including the Boys & Girls Club of Broken Arrow. Their offerings includes a music program providing guitar, piano and brass lessons to children 6 to 18 years of age; character building programs like Girl Guards, a Christ-oriented adventure program; and Power Hour, a program that helps 6 to 18 year olds with home work.
Additional programs include swimming, available to children and adults of Broken Arrow; Challenger Basketball, Challenger Art and Challenger Swim programs are custom designed for adults and children with special needs. There is Youth Basketball for boys and girls ages 6 to 18 and Flag Football for boys in kindergarten through 6th grades. Small Ball is basketball for four, five and six year olds and is played on a full court, four on four, with six-foot high goals.
“We also have a wrestling program and we’re still taking sign-ups,” said Blackmon. Wrestling teams practice two times each week, have a tournament every weekend November through March, and are members of OKWA (Oklahoma Kids Wrestling Association). There are Open and Novice Divisions in all age groups, but kids are never required to participate in tournaments.
The Broken Arrow Boys & Girls Club has the only girls' rugby team in our state. They recently participated in a Dallas tournament and won first place – undefeated! Blackmon says two team members have been invited to play on the National Girls Rugby Team. The Broken Arrow team is coached by Gayla Adcock.
Many additional programs are offered by the Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club of Broken Arrow. In short, this is a wonderful organization that is making a difference in the lives of Broken Arrow children and adults. Hopefully you’ll find it in your heart to volunteer to “Ring the Bells for Christmas Kettles” campaign or make a donation whenever you can. Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club is a member of the Tulsa Area United Way.
For more information, contact
Blankenship graduated from the University of Oklahoma and has enjoyed a lifetime career in advertising. He started his own advertising business in 1993 and enjoys creating graphic art and writing. Hobbies include hunting, fishing and pencil drawings. Duane and his wife, Janice, have been married over 50 years and are active in their church and community. He has been a contributing writer for Value News/Values Magazine since 2005.