11/13/12 — Boys & Girls Club receives surprise award

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Boys & Girls Club receives surprise award

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on November 13, 2012 1:46 PM

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Andreta Wooten, director of the Northern Wayne Unit of the Boys & Girls Club in Fremont, admires the HALO Award.

FREMONT -- The Northern Wayne Boys & Girls Club recently received an unexpected award from the national Boys & Girls Club organization in recognition of its community service efforts.

"We do cards to the rest homes on all the occasions -- Christmas, Thanksgiving, that type of thing," explained Andreta Wooten, club director. "We invite EMS, police, the mayor, over here to thank them for their service and give them appreciation cards."

During the town's "Big Sweep" event, she encourages youths to participate in the cleanup effort. And when there are opportunities to send cards to the troops or to sell candy as part of a fundraiser for causes like cystic fibrosis, the club readily steps up.

"We're letting them know to give back, be appreciative, just try to teach them that type of thing," Ms. Wooten explained. "I tell them to let people know that have done things for you that you appreciate them."

The payoff was an unanticipated surprise, club officials said.

"We received a nice size, regular-looking brown box in the mail recently addressed to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Northern Wayne County," said Jo Heidenreich, development director of the club on Royall Avenue in Goldsboro. "We were quite surprised when we opened it and saw that the Northern Wayne Unit was being presented the BGCA (Boys & Girls Clubs of America)/TeenNick (Nickelodeon) HALO (Helping And Leading Others) Award.

"The award is given to clubs with an ongoing track record of engaging its members and community in significant service learning activities throughout the year. It was not anything that we applied for and was truly a surprise."

Ms. Wooten was also caught off guard by the recognition.

"I was surprised but I was pleased," she said. "I was proud of the kids. They're the ones that sit down and make the cards."

The club has nearly 40 members participating in activities on a daily basis. They range in age from 6 to 16, she said.

They, too, were excited about the award, she said.

"Oh, man, they were hollering and screaming," she said. "I have shown it to the kids, but I haven't put it up yet."

She surmised that the club's efforts were discovered through the regular reports she has to submit to the national office.

"I'm just assuming they got wind of it by the membership tracking system at BGCA," she said, adding, "It pays off to just do something for somebody."