While growing up as members of the Frank Callen Boys & Girls Club, we came under the influence of many exceptional role models, experienced many exciting and enriching lessons and activities. We developed comradeship, personal friendships, and bonds that have lasted across many years. Realizing how much the experiences we shared at the Club have positively impacted our lives, we are very desirous of contributing to the enhancement of the Club's efforts to meet the needs of today's youth and generations to come.
Consequently, we have bonded ourselves into an association with the premise that we will dedicate ourselves to supporting the Club with finances, with volunteer services, and any other assistance that may be requested from us.
Meeting Date Change
The February 2013 meeting date has changed to February 23rd same location as normal. Look forward to seeing you there!
Thanks for Attending Our 10th Annual Meritorious Awards Dinner!
A special note of thanks to everyone who traveled near and far to attend our 10th Annual Meritorious Awards Dinner! On behalf of our 2013 Honorees, our President, and the Alumni & Friends Association, we want to say thank you for all love, and support expressed and look forward to continually working together in the accomplishment of our mission as an organization.
2013 Meritorius Service Honorees
The Herald of Savannah
Mr. Robert "Sonny" Washington
Ms. Joyce Davidson
Mr. James "Blinky" Stewart
Mr. Roy Thomas
Congratulations to all of this years honorees on behalf of the officers and members of Frank Callen Boys & Girls Club Alumni and Friends Association, Inc.
A Historic Club In Peril
“The Hijacking of a Dream”
To the Concerned Citizens Who Value the History of Savannah:
This is an open letter to the community and to those who love and supported the Boys Club movement and value the history of this great city.
Martin Luther King, Jr., once wrote, “History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.”
I am writing this letter on behalf of the Frank Callen Boys and Girls Club Alumni and Friends Association. There have been several recent controversial decisions coming from the local Boys and Girls Club board of directors, which causes us great concern.
First, the club’s name was changed. This name was one that was cherished by this organization and community for over 93 years. Because of our emotional and financial commitment to the Boys and Girls Club, we need to end our silence, and voice our concerns to the poorly conceived decisions of it’s board. These decisions we felt if unchallenged could prove, in the long run, harmful to the character building of our children and the legacy left to this city by Frank Callen. What’s in a name? To the clubs’ majority non-African American board members who are new to our community, a name means nothing. To the minority community, where this club’s membership comes from and who now represent a minority on its board, the name means everything. For a second time in two years the club’s board cast a contentious vote that changed the name of the club. Their vote cast, pretty much along racial lines, was comparable to rubbing salt into an infected wound, as it continued the uneasiness we first experienced with changing the name. This board’s actions appear to be widening the divide that exists between them and the African American community. To mend these bridges, votes of this nature should strictly follow rules to demonstrate some degree of fairness. But, I guess that is only the case when a board actually cares about the opinions of those whom they serve. Since there was no caring through any of the other processes, this letter is necessary.
As a non-profit club, everyone who actively participates in the organization, their opinion should matter, especially the contributors to your organization. This organization armed with a nonchalant attitude, accompanied with a reluctance to follow rules has angered us as well as many in the African American community. During both votes the board blatantly violated rules relating to parliamentary procedures. Now, for a board member to sit back, not question, and then to cast a vote when they are aware things were not right or too contentious, jeopardizes themselves as well as the organization they represents. During the last vote, members cast votes, failing to question, a last minute meeting time change, as two African American board members were not present; arriving after the vote had been taken. These members arrived at the time the meeting was first scheduled to be held.
Second, after a hard look at their actions, we can only conclude that this board has simply lost its way and lacks true leadership. Several of the board members most recent votes have been directed toward controlling the selection of its board members; which on the surface appears to be a legitimate function. However, closer scrutiny reveals that many of these decisions appear to be aimed at eliminating African Americans from serving on the board. In the past year, four sitting African- American board members were removed from the board. A fifth African-American board member survived a challenge to have them removed by the board President. His challenge had nothing to do with their performance, only that this person had ties to the Alumni group, who opposed their actions to change the name. Those who they selected to serve on the board possess poorly equipped leadership skills, while others selected are pursuing a personal agenda, which are clear indicators of favoritism or worse, a conflict of interest. Their actions place themselves and others members in peril of occurring personal liabilities, while they advanced their interest over the children they serve. It is becoming a pattern, as they pass self-serving rules that further these ambitions. Although, the organization has by-laws, they only adhere to them when it is advantageous to them in furthering their goals. A perfect example of this arrogance was displayed during last year’s board election. The board Secretary, missed all but three meetings, and should have been removed according to the by-laws; however, the Secretary was nominated by a nomination committee and voted in as Board President. Notwithstanding, blistering personal scrutiny and the loss of funds to the organization, the leadership continues to convince board members that their actions were necessary and that the Frank Callen name stood in their way of reaching their goals.
Third, as the make-up of this board changes, its members are losing touch with the children that enter its doors. Most of them share very little in common with this consitutency, so how can we expect this board to serve them. As it’s first non African-American director, we initially welcomed the appointment of Vincent Delmonte. However, Mr. Delmonte has ushered in unprecedented changes that were never envisioned, the character and the direction of the club has changed. It is our position that the direction that Mr. Delmonte has chosen for the club is contemptous; not only for this community but to the hundreds if not thousands of disadvantaged children, particularly so in the African-American community for which this organization serves and has served. Instead of seeking consenus and common ground, Mr. Delmonte turned a deaf ear the opinions of the Alumni Association whilegoing forward with his decisions and personal agenda. While publicy stating his support for the legacy of Frank Callen, he has actively sought to separate this organization from its core foundation and service base. This letter is an indictment of the Delmonte administration and this continued deception has gone on far too long. The only solution to this challenge the club is facing is for Vincent Delmonte to wake up and realize that he is the problem, and tender his resignation as should many of the board members including its newly elected President.
Last and most tragically, through all of this, our most precious resource, our children, has been ignored. While the decisions of this board serve to only further its control over this organization, it does nothing to improve the situation or the condition for our children. The management which controls this charity has developed a mindset that is antagonistic to the people for whom this charity was designed to benefit. He cut funding to the club’s sport programs, which is responsible for bringing in over half of the membership, as he reportedly still collected athletic fees. While over ninety percent of the children attending the club are African Americans, there is another ten percent who are disadvantaged or impoverished. The physical conditions at the club have worsened under the stewardship of it’s director, Vincent Delmonte, as parents had to file complaints to force him to make improvements in the facilities. Members have no knowledge of who he is, only referring to him as, “the man behind the desk”; he never mixes with the children. It is time for concerned citizens and financial contributors of this organization to take a stand and address the seriuous issues facing this club. We are asking you to join with us, end your silence. You may contact the Alumni Association at email@example.com or contact the club at 912-233-2939, but please let’s make them accountable.
Sam L. Jones Jr. / Past President
Frank Callen Boys and Girls Alumni and Friends Association