For the fifth summer, young people from the Lake Waccamaw Boys and Girls Homes are visiting the Triangle to gain skills they can use after high school. During the school year, the teenagers live in the Rotary Cottage at the Boys and Girls Homes, a residential community for children who have been neglected or abused.
The four-week summer program was the brainchild of Rotary member Owen Robinson, who wondered what would happen to the teens after they left the Homes. The program, sponsored by area Rotary Clubs, offers the teens chances to visit museums, the courthouse and UNC-Chapel Hill. They also learn practical skills such as budgeting and dining etiquette. Nine Rotary Clubs are sponsoring five boys this summer. The program usually alternates between boys and girls programs, so next year a team of girls will participate.
Rotary Club members and Boys and Girls Homes Board of Trustee members Robinson (from Cary-MacGregor Rotary Club) and Dave Weiss (from Cary-Kildaire Rotary Club) hope to host boys and girls together in the future so that no teen slips through the cracks.
The involvement of more clubs also allows us to let the young people tour places like UNC-Chapel Hill and the Smith Center because groups like the Chapel Hill Rotarians are now helping us.
One of the teaching parents from the Homes said that no one has shared the basics with many of these kids. One asked how to buy a stamp and mail a letter. So you can imagine how wonderful it is for them to tour the Smith Center or visit a museum.
One of the young men has been in some trouble, so I sat him down and told him I want to help him go in a positive direction. The main thing they look for is not to be judged. When our kids go off on their own, they have a support base to come back to. These kids don’t. I want them to open up. Now they know someone is in their corner.