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BGYA: 'Making a brighter future for our children'



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April 03, 2013 - Dustin McClellan accepted an invitation to hop on a bus 15 years ago, a decision he believes changed the course of his life.

McClellan was a 7-year-old Pontiac kid living with his single mother and older brother in a home with drugs and alcohol when Pastor John Gunn invited him to get on the bus and come to the Power Company Kids Club with other children from the neighborhood.

"My brother shot and almost killed someone before I was a teenager and the Power Company was very strategic in my life, because I would have followed the same path everyone else had for years," said McClellan, now 22 and assistant director of The Power Company.

The non-profit organization was founded by Gunn 20 years ago in March 1993 and according to the website powercompanykidsclub.org, is "dedicated to promoting the emotional, physical, spiritual, and social well-being of the at-risk children and teens of our inner cities through weekly Bible teaching, mentoring and cooperation with parents, churches, community organizations, schools and civic leaders."

McClellan spoke about the wonderful changes that can be achieved in children's lives through the efforts of positive adult influences during the annual Brandon Groveland Youth Assistance breakfast March 28.

BGYA, like the Power Company Kids Club, strives to help children. While PCKC focuses on Pontiac children, BGYA strengthens youth and families residing within the Brandon School District through primary prevention programs— including mentoring, youth recognition, tutoring programs, family education, summer camps, and skill building scholarships.

McClellan found a safe haven in the PCKC, which provides free transportation to a renovated 16,000 square foot former Boys and Girls Club building, where children play games and have activities with a different theme every Saturday and prizes. Volunteers visit the homes of children to determine what needs there are— including food and clothing. During the week, there are tutoring and mentor programs.

Now, as assistant director, McClellan works to be the positive influence for children who are in circumstances similar to what he faced.

"We teach them to say no to drugs, to stay in school, to make a difference in their community," he said. "I think if you are going to change a community, change a family, you start with the children. They will be leading in the next few years, so if you make a difference for them, the future will be brighter for them and everyone around them. That is what the BGYA is doing, making a brighter future for our youth. Join up with Power Company or BGYA and be a part of that difference. I've seen so many families where the child is the one to transform the entire family."

BGYA is seeking volunteers. To learn how you can make a difference in the lives of children in this community, call Gail Innis at 248-627-6445.

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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