Daily Point of Light # 1590 Mar 8, 2000

The Tallahassee 25 has made a commitment to create opportunities for children in need with their community through support and hands on involvement in programs and activities which allow kids to enjoy their youth, while also helping them learn principles such as responsibility, self-esteem, self-discipline and team work.

The Tallahassee 25 was formed on March 14, 1997, when 25 young professionals chipped in $20 a piece to fund a little league team of underprivileged youth. What began as a simple fund raiser for badly needed game uniforms and safe equipment has blossomed into prideful projects. For the kids who are reached by the Tallahassee 25, it is pride borne of increased self-esteem. For the more than 320 club members, it is a continuing process of unique personal growth, while meeting numerous community needs.

Tallahassee 25 members volunteer in a wide array of organization-sponsored events and projects…side-by-side with local children who need the community’s attention the most. In the 1998/1999 calendar year, the Tallahassee 25 continued to sponsor and expand on little league partnerships, “buddied up” with children on the Big Brothers/Big Sisters waiting lists, and gathered toys to give as holiday gifts for youngsters at the Tree House, a local shelter for abused and neglected children. The organization also chauffeured kids to deliver Meals on Wheels for the elderly and the shut-ins and orchestrated three Paint-n-Plays at local Boys & Girls Clubs, giving the clubs much needed renovations.

On the education front, the Schools and Education Committee gets to kids on a personal level. The groups develops regular mentor relationships to provide the kids with that extra encouragement to succeed in school and life and weekly readings at child-care centers.

There are numerous highlights of the education specific efforts of Tallahassee 25. In 1997, the groups answered a middle school teacher’s plea for help. She was in desperate need of weekly tutors to help at-risk students close to failing out. The group started immediately. Today, about 40 members spend an hour weekly with their “buddies.” There has been reported improvement in the areas of skills and behavior. The Tallahassee 25 also presents “Tallahassee 25 Career Days” to any school or children’s group that is interested. To date, they have presented to more than 1,400 students. Also, for as long as the group has been in existence, they have sponsored the delivery of local newspapers to the middle school. Teachers use these up-to-date “textbooks” to produce fun and challenging lessons.

Tallahassee 25’s activity grows continuously and in proportion to membership. Although they currently have 250 dues-paying members, another 150 individuals serve as project coordinators or volunteer in other ways. Additionally, they average between 20-30 potential new members at each monthly meeting/social. The club has a Web site and voice mail and a radio station donates a newspaper promotion ad each week for the “project or message of the week.”

The Tallahassee 25 attributes its success to the fact that they make volunteering simple, ample, high-impact and fun. There is only one desire that must be shared by anyone wishing to be a member – “Lending kids a helping hand.”