Michigan City resident Allen Williams is a direct example of what it means to love and serve others. His kind-hearted, genuine attitude pours onto others, leaving them with a similar feeling. And now Williams is stepping up to make a difference in his community.
Williams grew up in Michigan City and after completing high school, he went on to graduate from Ball State University with a Bachelor’s Degree with concentrations of business administration, sociology and history.
Spending almost forty years in the business sector, he was involved in business operations and distributions before retiring. After two years of retirement, he got the itch to do something positive in the community and started volunteering in various areas and got involved in Hours for Ours Mentoring Program, where he would take a student under his wing and mentor them.
His time with the Hours for Ours program led him to volunteering with the Safe Harbor After-School Enrichment Program, where he is currently the Middle School Team Leader.
In this position, he leads Krueger and Barker Middle Schools.
The program is very comprehensive and is academically centered.
“We start with homework assistance every night, and then move into tutorial concepts, in which we provide one or more hours for all of the students enrolled in the program, plus any student in the school that is in need of tutoring,” Williams said.
From there, the program goes into a college and career readiness program that is designed to expose, inform and prepare students to go beyond high school. This allows kids to see what their options are for their futures. Program leaders take them to colleges in the area and have speakers come in and they visit businesses and manufacturing sites – all with the intent of expanding the consciousness of our students and getting them to think about their future by showing them what it takes to get them beyond where they are today.
The program also offers curriculum based activities that involves several character development programs including Hidden Treasures, Computer Awareness, Boys to Young Men, Dare to be You, Chess and partnerships with other organizations in the community. The majority of these programs are run by the staff, but a significant amount of them are conducted by volunteers who have those kinds of skills that are relevant to their mission.
“I think we have done a very good job helping the school corporation. By having the after-school program, we can reach out into the broader community and provide the children with different opportunities and programs,” Williams said.
One of the missions of the program is to try to modify the attitudes of the students. By taking part in character development programs and hearing the same, positive message from multiple mentors, the students are able to grow and maybe change some of the negatives that have occurred within their lives.
“The children in the Safe Harbor program perform better collectively than they did before,” Williams said. “Some of the deficiencies they may have had are slowly becoming a thing of the past because they are getting one-on-one tutoring and homework help consistently and are beginning to feel like they can do more, instead of ‘I can’t.’ Safe Harbor is ranked one of the top after-school programs in the state. I like to think of it as a well-kept secret because a lot of people are not familiar with what we do.”