On Saturday, January 14, 2017, youth, leaders, friends, politicians, staff, and well wishers of the Y M C A, Y. O. P. ( Youth Opportunities Program), gathered for a morning of fun-draising at Applebee’s on the South side of town. In their setting out on an early Saturday morning, their goal was to meet up with some people,
supporters that is, who share their vision, hopes, and dreams of excelling, and didn’t mind eating an early breakfast with the youth at Applebee’s in their Flap Jack Fun-draising event.
Program Director, Crystal Harris Darnell assembled the staff of the Y. O. P. with the purpose of showcasing youth who have committed to being a part of a program that supports their future from beginning of their entrance throughout their college careers and beyond. The goal on this early Saturday morning, was to share pancakes and breakfast with friends, family, and community leader who embraces the mission of the Y M C A and would offer financial support to the youth in assisting them to be effective in their engagement in the program. Director Darnell stated that the program serves youth between the ages of 16 - 21 years. Some of the areas of engaging the youth range from Work readiness, college tours, leadership development, as well as helping them create tools and develop skills that will help them to be successful in life. They spend a lot of time on assisting them in College readiness so that they will leave high school with a plan that increase their likelihood of being well rounded and successful. She further stated that many of the students enter the program with barriers. Their goal is to help them alleviate those barriers. They had about 25 youth present and volunteering with the breakfast. The Y. O. P. serves about 100 youth to date. For someone who may be interested in the program, they should call the office at 419.729.8136. And of course one of the requirements is that a youth should meet income eligible guidelines. The program is always looking for people to enroll as well as volunteering.
Brock, General Manager of Applebee's, stated that the FlapJack Fundraiser is a way to serve breakfast and help nonprofits and organizations with their mission by supporting them financially. He stated that a portion of the proceeds go towards the program, as Applebee’s cover the cost of the breakfast. They are open to helping non-profits and those who are in need of some financial support.
Jay Black, former President of the African American Chamber of Commerce, was invited. He stated that he looks for opportunities to give back, especially our young Black boys because they are an endangered species. He believes that professionals need to reach back and give back. He believes this as he emphatically states that someone helped him, so he is always looking for a way to give back.
Teresa Robinson, has been with the program for 3 years and she is the President of the West Program. She has learned how to be outspoken now much more than she was upon entering. She states that she has come to appreciate being there, she feels loved because the program has helped her to become more sociable and giving.
Montrice Terry, Coordinator of the Program, served as one of the Staff Host who graciously welcomed the guest and created a high level of engagement and enthusiasm among the youth who served the guests. A great big thank you to Director Darnell, Montrice, and the Staff of the Y. O. P. for their commitment to our youth. We celebrate you and our youth on a job well done. God bless you!