Preston L. Parish Supports Positive Youth Programming With a $100,000 Gift to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kalamazoo
At a time when funds are tight and the demand for its services are at an all-time high, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kalamazoo are going into 2011 breathing a little easier.
Preston L. Parish has provided the Clubs with a $100,000 unrestricted gift to support programming over two years in the greater Kalamazoo area. Parish is a Kalamazoo area native who currently lives in mid-Michigan. Parish made the gift in honor of both his late mother, Suzanne Upjohn DeLano Parish, and the Boys & Girls Clubs’ long-time Chief Professional Officer, Bob Ezelle.
“The work that the Boys & Girls Clubs have done in Kalamazoo, particularly the Edison and North Side neighborhoods, has been nothing short of remarkable,” noted Parish. “Bob’s dedication to the Club over the span of more than three decades has resulted in betterment of countless lives.” In addition to serving the Boys & Girls Clubs, Ezelle has been a leader in other youth initiatives in the community, including the reduction of gang violence and crime.
Parish’s gift comes at a time when the Clubs are experiencing record daily attendance – nearly 250 school-age youth per day between its Lake Street and Douglass Units. The Clubs, which provide membership and all activities free of charge to youth, offer programs in education, arts, substance abuse prevention, life skills, character development, and fitness. Additionally, the Clubs offer family support workshops and operate a residential summer camp in Hastings.
“We appreciate Mr. Parish’s timely and generous gift,” said Ezelle. “The past two years have been extremely challenging, and this gift will allow us to continue to help enrich the lives of our Club members and their families.”
Boys & Girls Club of Kalamazoo and the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts new program meant to aid girls
by Stephanie Esters | Kalamazoo Gazette Thursday July 23, 2009, 11:38 AM
KALAMAZOO — As hairstylist Brandie Jackson shared the best ways to blow dry and moisturize hair, Kali Burnett responded with an almost constant rebuttal, saying the techniques would not work on her hair.
“You have a lot of complaints about your hair, but I’m gonna show you,” Jackson at one told the 18-year-old Burnett.
“I’m going to show Kali that her hair is OK,” she said.
Jackson on Wednesday was at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kalamazoo, on Lake Street, for the new Art Girls program, a collaboration between the Girls Club and the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts that’s intended to teach girls skills to better themselves. It was developed from conversations between coordinators Mary Whalen, a photographer who works for the KIA, and Katy Lagoni, who works for the Boys & Girls Clubs.
“We really saw this as a chance to get ahold of girls,” Lagoni said.
The program, which started in mid-June and runs through August, meets three times a week. Besides learning about hairstyling, young women will create their own “girl guide” featuring drawings, poetry and writing and will take field trips to art-making venues.
Lagoni invited Jackson to make the presentation on hair care, styling and braiding. The stylist told the young women the best uses for varied brushes and combs and the effects they produce, and shared information about different hair-care products and techniques.
She talked, for example, about the differences between some thick oils traditionally applied to the scalp of some African-Americans and the lighter hair sheens.
“This is almost like frying chicken when you put it on your hair,” she said, holding up a jar of thick, green hair grease.
Jakiya Shaw, 17, a senior at Comstock High School, said she learned a lot Wednesday about taking better care of her hair, which on this day was in a French braid style.
“Now I know I’m not going to use grease anymore to flat-iron my hair,” she said.
Near the end of her presentation, Jackson had Burnett come forward to have her hair moisturized and styled.
“Now … you see the difference, the body,” Jackson said of Burnett’s new look.
“That’s pretty,” another of the young women remarked. “Looks like a perm.”
Contact Stephanie Esters at email@example.com or 388-8554.
Members of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kalamazoo are making SMART Moves.