Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Kevin showing some love outside the new dining hall.
When I visited the center in 2009 with my classmates, the place felt a little run down. The carousel of chairs was rusted and broken, the dining hall was empty of tables, and the offices and classrooms were in rough shape. The boys were what kept the place lively. In the past year, the center has received a grant to build new offices, a new dining hall, and a second floor of dormitories to allow each boy their own bed to sleep in (right now there are two boys to each twin size bed). A few weeks ago they received another grant to build new classrooms. This is a great step for the center for many reasons.
New administrative offices, nurse's room, and volunteer room.

Dormitories with the new second floor and a paint job.
Current dormitories 
Inside the new dining hall.
This is what is becoming the new library/game room! Lots of work to do!

The new construction is extremely helpful for organizational purposes. There is one room called "the teacher's room." It houses all of the center's books and school supplies that the teachers use on a daily basis. There is one desk that is shared by the volunteers and the two classroom teachers.

The new buildings will provide more space and opportunity for the staff and students. The old kitchen is becoming the new store room. The old dining hall is almost finished it's facelift. It will become a new library for both the staff and students to access. One of the biggest problems I noticed upon my arrival was the lack of use of all the donations the center receives. These donations include clothing, shoes, soccer balls, notebooks, pencils, paper, and art supplies such as crayons, colored pencils, markers, oil pastels, and paint. None of these things are being used. The main reasons they are not put to use is that the donations go missing or break when they allow the boys to use them. They will be around for one day and the next morning it will be broken or gone. Another reason is that the staff isn't aware of everything the center has received and they don't take advantage of the supplies. I think they are also unsure of how to divvy up the clothing and shoes to make it fair without the boys fighting.

Elena and I decided that there needs to be some serious changes in managing donations. We have put together a project proposal for the new library that we will present to Rafiki, the project manager, so he can give us the okay to run the project and take action. Our plan will allow all the donations (except for the clothing and shoes) to be accessible to both staff and students. The library will be a place where the boys can rent books and games. It will have tables and chairs for the boys to read and play games at. In order to keep the games and art supplies in tact, we will created a sign-out system and they will have to remain within the walls of the library. Whoever signs out the game is responsible for returning all it's pieces, or they are not able to sign anything else out until all the pieces are returned. We created a folder with sheets of paper called "The Naughty List" for students who have lost their privilege to sign anything out. Boys can also lose their privilege if they have not completed their chores or misbehaved in some other way.

The new system will also give the boys access to the soccer balls. This is a HUGE deal for the boys. On Friday, we gave the boys a soccer ball from the volunteer room. We were getting so frustrated going into the volunteer room and seeing all these brand new soccer balls just sitting there. We'd look out the window to see boys kicking around an old, flat, beat up ball of some sort. So we took one and gave it to some boys, who were elated with excitement. On the following Monday, the ball was gone and nobody knew of it's whereabouts. Out new system will require the balls to be checked out and returned after a certain amount of time.

We are really excited to put our new plan into action and see how the boys react to it. We will keep you posted on the progress and success!


  1. Ally,
    You have some great ideas here! Keep us informed on how it all works out - I'm looking forward to seeing a picture of the library after you and Elena are finished organizing it!
    Keep up the good work!
    Elena's Mom

  2. Ally - this is an amazing blog! Wow! Can I share some of this in our next Badger Beat for the JSC Student-Athletes to hear about your adventures? Can I use a photo or two?

    Please let me know if you are okay with this! I'd love to share all the awesome things you are doing with our community!!! You rock Lady!

  3. Camille, please feel free to share whatever you like. That's what it's here for!!