by Brian Head
A few weeks ago I was picking up our daughter, Maddie, from the Boys & Girls Club (BGC) afterschool program at Caldwell Elementary Arts Academy. It was the week after the Tyler snow storm. Apparently a parent had asked a question I suspect many parents had—why were we being charged for a full week when our kids were only in school for two out of five days? I grumbled under my breath about how absurd that policy was, but it just so happened that one of the BGC directors was there and was posed this question openly.
Since I’m not one to shy away from asking questions, I took the opportunity to hear his response and ask follow-ups. What I learned both quieted my complaints and gave me another reason to be thankful to be a part of this congregation. You see, while tuition is heavily subsidized for some lower income families, I learned that even parents who pay “full-tuition” only cover about 80% of the cost to send a child to BGC. The other 20% is covered by generous donations from organizations like FPC Tyler.
Without those donations many parents wouldn’t be able to have children in after school programming. That means families might have what used to be termed “latchkey kids”—perhaps doing things that could change their life trajectory. It means kids who need the tutoring BGC offers wouldn’t get it. It means kids from lower income families wouldn’t get the snacks that may be the last food that child gets until the next morning when they can get a free breakfast. It also means families like ours, who are middle class, would have our budgets stretched a little farther.
I was a bit ashamed that I didn’t know this, given that I see updates on the church finances on a monthly basis. But, thankfully my embarrassment was quelled when I commented on it at a recent Session Officer’s Retreat and others replied they didn’t either. If several of us didn’t know, I’m confident many others in the congregation don’t know this donation comes from the interest in the Vardaman Trust at FPC.
I’m writing to let you know how your generous donation to BGC directly and positively impacts your neighbors and community. Thank you!