Boys & Girls Clubs staff and volunteers from all across the state recently came to Chattanooga for their Tennessee Area Council meetings, training and the Tennessee Hall of Family Induction and Awards Banquet. Mike Cranford, chief professional officer for the B&GC of Chattanooga, along with his staff, did an awesome job in hosting this 2 1/2-day event.
During one of the many board training sessions, we were taught about the three T’s — Time, Talent and Treasures. Everyone has one of these T’s available at their disposal. There are countless nonprofits in our area such as the United Way, Boys & Girls Clubs and Ocoee Outreach, to name a few, that could use any one of your T’s.
UTC men’s basketball coach John Schulman was the keynote speaker for the banquet. Charlie Sutton, CPO for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland, provided the entertainment by 10-year-old Quentin Scott. He represented the Blythe Avenue Unit and he sang the National Anthem and a gospel song. He received a standing ovation from the crowd of more than 175 attending.
Coach Schulman spoke of attending what he termed “boring” events such as this with his father years ago. So he entertained us with him poking fun at Mark Ross, chief professional officer for the B&GC Smoky Mountains, and a longtime friend from his high school days. He also talked about growing up in the Johnson City area playing sports and his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Herbert L. Schulman, owning a corrugated box company in Elizabethton.
That name rang a bell with me. But, I listened as coach Schulman went on to say that B&GC staff work hard trying to mold and encourage young people every day. Whereas he gets to work with 15 young men each year, he said the need is great and we need to continue working with young people to build character, leadership and life skills.
At the end of the evening, I asked Chet Nichols, B&GC Southeast Region service director, if coach Schulman’s parents were the founders of the Schulman Foundation that paid [both of our tuitions] at Tusculum College in Greenville, back in the 1970s. He said they were! The Foundation paid the tuition for five students in each grade from Boys Clubs from many states to attend Tusculum.
So, I approached coach Schulman and thanked him for taking the time to address our Council. But, more importantly to me, I thanked him for what his parents did for me and many other young men. I told him most B&GC members cannot afford to go to college without assistance.
So, there is a light at the end of the tunnel for many young people with the help from concerned citizens like the Schulmans.
I said all that to say this. Find your T and put it into action!
Make that small light at the end of the tunnel a vivid, radiant, promising light for others in your town. My life was changed by the church, family members, B&GC and caring people like the Schulmans!
I am a Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland alumnus and a current board member.
— Bobby Greene