The Kansas City Star newspaper encourages and supports their employees in volunteer endeavors throughout the community. One of those employees, Diane Scott, was an avid volunteer. Through her experiences, she saw a need for mentors and educational assistance for the children of the community. Scott had a vision to tutor and be a role model, so in 1995 she mobilized her co-workers and began a weekly youth enrichment program. The program had meetings and get tog ethers at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City’s West Bluff Site.
Initially, the endeavor began as an after-school tutoring initiative, holiday recognitions, clothes closet, and a reading club. Throughout its maturity, the program added dance classed to enrich the lives of the over 125 youth from the areas public housing complexes. Hundreds of at-risk youth have been tutored and mentored by the volunteers. Scott and her co-workers believe their work is an opportunity for the youth to get connected to the community through caring adults.
The site for the meetings had to change, and the program was moved to the Clymer Center Boys & Girl Club. Though they were in a different area, the youth from the West Bluff Site were still a part of the program. They were transported to the new site so they could continue to participate in the activities. The “Star” volunteers were encouraged because the children from West Bluff did not want to be left behind and wanted to continue in the program.
The program has blossomed into the Star Night Volunteers. Star Night now continues to benefit young people by providing them with non-traditional activities that celebrate cultural diversity. They teach Boys & Girls Club members about Cinco de Mayo, Hanukkah, Black History Month, and other events that they may not be exposed to in their every day life or through the school system. The volunteers pride themselves in being inclusive and sensitive to the various cultures that are represented in the Clubs. The members enjoy the time spent with the volunteers whether it is the tutoring sessions or special events.
Star Night is still running strong in 2001. The volunteers have also taken on the responsibility of chaperoning overnighters and field trips and organizing service projects for youth. They also sponsor an annual safety program during Halloween. Through the years, they have donated clothing, books, and other materials to the center. The Boys & Girls Club are excited about the partnership with the Star Night Volunteers and believe their work has strengthened the youth and continues to support their goals and dreams along with that of the National Club.
Star Night Volunteers also have classes every Thursday evening. The youth come out in great numbers to attend classes on crime, drugs, violence and role models. The youth are provided with engaging alternatives and presented with the skills, knowledge, behaviors, and personal attributes they need to succeed.