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Boys & Girls Club initiates Family PLUS program

Thomasville Times-Enterprise - 9/28/2020

Sep. 25--THOMASVILLE -- Nate Tyler considers himself "the right fit" to oversee the Marguerite Neel Williams Boys and Girls Club of Thomasville's new family-oriented program.

Tyler will head the Family PLUS initiative designed to develop youths by strengthening families within the Boys & Girls Club organization.

Seeking to empower and strengthen adults in their familial roles, Family PLUS builds on the premise that broad-based programming for parents and caregivers will enhance family stability, develop caregiver competencies and promote the healthy development of children, Tyler said.

On the job for about 10 days, Tyler said several people urged him to apply for the part-time Family PLUS position.

The kinship care part of the program provides knowledge and resources to extended family members and foster parents who have assumed the role of primary caregiver.

Positive involvement of fathers in the lives of their children is another aspect of Family PLUS. Tyler said the biological father of a child might not live in the youngster's home.

The father and mother would be asked to participate in in Boys & Girls Club family-oriented programs.Tyler said children's relatives will be interviewed to learn about issues the Boys & Girls Club can help address.

Other Family PLUS initiatives are:

--Focusing on empowering families, helping families find and keep jobs, increasing earnings, building savings and establishing credit.

--Youth mentoring, the process of matching mentors with young people who need or want a caring, responsible adult in their lives. Adult mentors usually are unrelated to the child or teen and work as volunteers.

--A one-stop-shopping model that combines resources and information for multiple health and human services from a single location.

Tyler said families often are not fully aware of the vast number of resources available in the community and/or how to access the resources. Parents often become frustrated having to go to multiple locations and speak to multiple people in an attempt to access services and resources.

Resources include:

--Public assistance

--Food assistance

--Affordable/quality child care


--Affordable/quality housing

--Mental health

--Health care assistance

--COVID-19-related wellness and nutrition education

--Legal assistance

Tyler said his biggest challenge might be getting mentors with the time and desire to commit to the program. Mentorship will require time, he said.

Mentors would encourage youngsters about school work and navigate life's issues, he said.

Mentors should be people with life experiences to help children make good decisions.

Tyler and his wife, Gwen, have adult children and 16 grandchildren.

He retired from the City of Thomasville in 2019, after 41 years of service as a police officer and later as head of the city solid waste division.

Tyler said that during his city employment, he met a lot of people. Some, he said, will be contacted about becoming a mentor.

Anyone who wants to become a mentor is asked to call the Boys & Girls Club at (229) 228-5155, option 3.

"We're looking for some longevity," Tyler said. "We're going to take it nice and slow."

Senior reporter Patti Dozier can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 1820


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