Nonprofits see benefits of corporate partnerships
by Matt Shinall
Apr 26, 2013 | 2436 views | 0 0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Children at the Boys & Girls Club enjoy the “Oasis” built by volunteers from the Cartersville Kohl’s while Youth of the Year member Janiece Baldwin reads them a story Thursday afternoon. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
Children at the Boys & Girls Club enjoy the “Oasis” built by volunteers from the Cartersville Kohl’s while Youth of the Year member Janiece Baldwin reads them a story Thursday afternoon. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
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Corporate citizenship has left its mark on area nonprofits with recent efforts aimed at benefitting the Boys & Girls Clubs of Bartow County and Advocates for Children among others.

For Advocates, a Bartow County nonprofit providing a range of services for children and families in need, a partnership with Comcast provided the largest single-day volunteer event ever at Flowering Branch Children’s Shelter.

More than 100 volunteers from Comcast, NorthSide Bank and fellow nonprofits showed up to lend a hand Saturday in planting flowers, painting rooms and assembling care packages that will be given to the United Way of Bartow County to help local families.

While Comcast put together the annual event held last week at Advocates, known as Comcast Cares Day, the cable provider was not alone. Comcast brought together Comcast employees, NorthSide Bank employees, Cartersville High School BETA Club members, Douglas Street United Methodist Church Hands of Christ Program members, Boy Scouts of America, Jacob’s Ladder mentors, Church at Liberty Square members and Faith Temple Church members.

“This past Saturday was filled with laughter, hard work and diversity, which made for an incredibly successful and memorable day,” said Advocates Volunteer Coordinator Marian Barber in a press release.

Meanwhile, at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Bartow County, another partnership has led to facility improvements and regular volunteers. The Cartersville Kohl’s department store has teamed with Boys & Girls Clubs to rebuild the Cartersville unit’s “oasis,” an outdoor site for kids to enjoy during recreational activities.

Beyond the initial volunteer project, the Kohl’s program known as Associates in Action has introduced a team of volunteers from the Cartersville store that now visit the Cartersville unit twice a month to tutor and spend time with kids after school.

“We’ve been fortunate over the years to have so many community partners,” said Boys & Girls Clubs of Bartow County Chief Professional Officer Gordon Gilley. “We’ve got the Service League and Staples and the list goes on and on, but our newest one is Kohl’s. They call it Associates in Action and it’s two-fold — they spend time here volunteering doing projects and along with that comes a financial stipend. So it’s a win-win and kids love them.

“They’re here about twice a month, and from our end, the best thing we can do for our members is provide them caring adults to spend time with them. They do everything from tutoring to sports. They bring in five to seven associates every time and, honestly, they just go at it. Our program is so diverse that we have them doing everything. We have them tutoring, doing homework, doing art, they’re on the field, in the gym — it’s just a great thing for us.”

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Bartow County operates two units, one in Cartersville at 642 Henderson Drive and another in Adairsville at 127 King St. Between the two units, the local Boys & Girls Clubs serves more than 200 youth every day and that number swells to more than 300 each day in the summer.

“We’re real lucky that we’ve got groups that care about us and want to spend time, but once you get in here, you kind of get hooked,” Gilley said. “[Kohl’s has] really jumped in with a full commitment to help and we’re lucky to have a group at our local store that spends so much time with us.”

Businesses or individuals interested in partnering with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Bartow County may call 770-382-5500. Those interested in partnering with Advocates for Children may call 770-387-1143.