Dear RAY Volunteers/ Foot Soldiers of RAY,
I call you "The Foot Soldiers" of RAY because you cover so much ground. On our journey, there are many, many ways you have made a difference in the lives of youth... volunteering, gifting, sponsoring opportunities, identifying talents, sharing ideas, etc.
Pack your bags as the journey continues because, children don't care how much you know, they just need to know that you actually care! Your dedication and commitment, is irreplaceable! Your hard work has been inspiring, thoughtful, caring, focused, motivating, and fun!
Those of you who have chartered the course since RAY’s inception in 1991, I salute you! Those of you who joined the journey later, believe me, it doesn't matter! I salute you too! The vision that started almost 25 years ago, reclaiming the lives of youth, continues its journey today. Foot Soldiers you are so appreciated!!
We would like to welcome back R.A.Y. Ambassador Deborah Birmingham from her recent trip to London. During her time there, Ambassador Birmingham had the opportunity to share the mission of Reclaim of Youth (R.A.Y.) of Illinois with Prince Edward in hopes of collaborating in the future.
As we close our summer activities and journey into the fall sessions (2015-2016), things seem to become a little rocky which offers us an opportunity to reflect on the hopes, dreams, and accomplishments of 2015. The Summer 2015 program schedule included several new and exciting opportunities for Reclaim-–a- Youth
teens. To name a few:
· YAC'S play: "Yes We Can" was a play presented by YAC members and it was the first production written by volunteer, Georgia Butler and directed by volunteer, Rev. Stephens. Teens interested in showcasing their talents got the ultimate exposure through the dialogue, song and dance emulating the First Family: President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Malia, and Sasha. For many of the teens, it was their first time performing in front of an audience and the first time on what we consider the BIG stage.
· The Sky Outing: Women’s National League Basketball Game. Nothing tastes better than hot dogs and popcorn at the fun loving game of women’s basketball. What makes it twice as nice is riding the bus to the game with friends and family.
· Grief and Loss: Our year round program for adults, children, and families.
· Community Event: Cookout in the park was definitely fun in the sun!
In fact “Soooo much fun, let's do it again!!
And, on behalf of the many teens that Reclaim- a - Youth has reached this summer, I now thank you for your support!
As we approach Fall (2015-2016) programs we are looking forward to another great year at RAY!!
Scheduled programs for Fall include:
Ray/Jay at Bloom
Mind Your Manners
Rays Youth -After -School Intervention Program
Grief and Loss
Our teens are excited and I want you to know how excited and encouraged I am by what I see in our teens. We advocate for teens in an ongoing effort to help all see themselves as successful creative, citizens of tomorrow.
The "Gala" is off and running to a good start. Yes, Outstanding Humanitarians have been chosen and will be honored for the difference they are making in the lives of others. Yes, we will recognize the gifts and talents of students who are the RAY of Hope Achievement Honorees. Yes, James Mix and Sean Cater Memorial scholarship recipients will be highlighted at this event!
Please, come out and join RAY for an incredible and glorious evening of dining and celebrating!
We are eagerly looking forward to Saturday, November 7, 2015, Serbian Banquet Hall, 185th & Stony Island, Lansing, IL. Preparation for this year's Gala is invigorating and may prove to be one of our most successful Ever.
The best way to get things Done is to simply, Begin!
We are pleased to announce that Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) headed by Dr.Susan T. Gooden, has been commissioned by the Manhattan Institute, a nonprofit organization, to conduct an external evaluation of our program and its practices. It is a two year study implemented to identify the impact the organization has on low income and disadvantaged youth. After the rigorous study, their shared results will indicate our organization’s commitment to provide quality services to our youth and that we have demonstrated that we have incorporated quality improvements and best practices into the fabric of our organization. The review will include both on- and- off-site evaluations conducted by the evaluators from VCU.
Needless to say, we are extremely proud of our 25 year achievements and look forward to the challenge of participation in this study and welcome its outcome.
So, Foot Soldiers, don’t forget to pack your bags as we continue on this journey to Reclaim-a- Youth!