Two long-time board members for the Boys & Girls Club of Michigan City were recently honored for their years of dedication to the private, non-profit organization.
Don Babcock and Ed Merrion were honored at the 2017 Indiana Area Council and Youth of the Year Event held in Indianapolis on Friday, March 24, 2017. Each received the National Service to Youth Award, which is awarded to board volunteers or staff who have rendered long and devoted service in the Boys & Girls Club Movement. Babcock, who is Director of Economic Development for NIPSCO, has volunteered for 10 years, while Merrion, Program Manager of Housing Services for Catholic Charities, has been with the Boys & Girls Club of Michigan City for 15 years.
“Ed and Don are two outstanding board members that give of themselves each and every day to make our organization all that it is,” shared Boys & Girls Club of Michigan City Executive Director Brandi Lewis. “It has been, and continues to be my honor to work with such compassionate people from our community. Having an opportunity to recognize their years of service at a local, state and national level is only a small piece of our efforts to show our appreciation for all they do for our Club.”
Merrion said he was familiar with the Boys & Girls Club national organization because of the great work it has done for many years with kids all over the country.
“When I first heard that there was a Boys & Girls Club coming to town, I resolved to support it financially,” explained Merrion. “Some of the founding board members asked me to join the board because of that support, and I told them I would when I had the time. I was able to fulfill that promise after a few years. Most rewarding for me is knowing that I am a part of the number one agency for youth in our community, and that agency is making a real difference in the lives of our kids.”
Merrion said the value of the Boys & Girls Club is that it provides a safe place for kids to come and be kids.
“What the kids don't realize is that they are growing into productive, caring, responsible persons because of the guidance-oriented programs in which they participate, while they think they are just having fun.”
Babcock got involved with Boys & Girls Club of Michigan City when Former Board Member Larry Jordan asked him to volunteer. At the time, he knew of other Boys & Girls Clubs, but didn’t recognize their value, he said. He served as President of the Board from 2013-2016.
“I find the Boys and Girls Club to be a safe, nurturing place where young people can dream about a great future and work towards making it real for them,” shared Babcock.
At Boys & Girls Club of Michigan City, he most enjoys “working with a great board and staff to help make a difference in young people’s lives.”
“I grew up I grew up a latchkey kid as my mom used to ride the South Shore to Chicago for a better job,” continued Babcock. “She didn't get home until around 6 p.m. Our neighbor was kind enough to keep an eye on us after school. Many evenings she would read Mark Twain's novel with Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn to us. At the time I didn't realize the value I always felt safe and that my family and friends cared about me and encouraged me to do my best. My mom was big on the golden rule, ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’ As I got older, I spent summers at a family friend's farm bailing hay, plowing fields, caring for and riding the horses.”
Boys & Girls Club of Michigan City is a private, not-for-profit organization. It is a member of Boys & Girls Club of America, which is a nationwide affiliation of 4,100 local autonomous Club organizations that work to help young people of all backgrounds develop the qualities they need to become responsible citizens and leaders. There are three Boys & Girls Club of Michigan City sites: the Charles R. Westcott Center location, 321 Detroit Street; the Pine Elementary School Boys & Girls Club Extension and the Springfield Elementary School Boys & Girls Club Extension. These serve over 600 youth ages five to eighteen in the community.
For more information about the Boys & Girls Club of Michigan City, please visit www.bgclubmc.org or “The Boys and Girls Club of Michigan City” on Facebook.