Children in the Goshen community will have a place to hang out next summer thanks in part to a generous donation secured by local farmers Karyn and Scott Forman.
The couple was awarded a $2,500 donation from the Monsanto Corporation as part of the company’s America’s Farmers Grow Communities Program, which they presented to the Boys and Girls Club.
Goshen Police Officer James Taylor has been working for the past six years to establish a place for Goshen youth to gather when not in school, and thanks to the Forman family and $9,500 from community patrons, Taylor will be able to offer a summer program for children in the local community at the former Goshen Township building. Taylor entered an agreement with the township to rent the building for $1 per year.
"The Boys and Girls Club is much more structured and by going through them it opens us up to a lot more grant opportunities," Taylor said.
He said he hopes the program will be a place where all groups interested in working with the local youth will be able to work with one another.
"It's an opportunity for all of Goshen to get together and collaborate everybody's efforts," Taylor said. "I want to invite in groups to present what programs they have to offer the kids whether they're civic groups, church groups, or whatever."
Taylor said he will be working on remodeling the building with up to $2,5000 worth of materials donated from each Lowe's and Home Depot, and will furnish Macintosh computers courtesy of Apple. The computers will be used for online classes and tutoring throughout next summer.
Monsanto and Stewart Seeds representative Jeff Weaver said Monsanto has been looking for ways to give back to the communities it serves.
"We felt like we should give back to the farmers that play a vital role in our country by donating to the charitable organization of their choice," Weaver said. "Karyn Forman was chosen as one recipient from 13,000 applicants."
Forman said she has seen the projects Taylor has taken on to give back to his community in the past and when she heard of his efforts to secure patronage for a local Boys and Girls Club she decided to help him find funding.
"I thought what better way to help the community, so I applied for the money," Forman said. "It's a good starting point for him. He does a lot of great things with kids in the community."
Taylor said the summer program is a good beginning but he hopes to secure funding to provide a year-round facility for children. Children taking advantage of the program will be provided a swipe card which Taylor said will allow them the freedom to come and go in the hope of making the place a hangout and not a place where the children are required to be for a certain length of time.
Ball said now that the funds for the summer program are in place she will sit down with Taylor and begin mapping out the programs they will provide and decide what programs will best meet the needs of the community.
In addition to Taylor, the Boys and Girls Club will hire a part-time employee to ensure that there are two paid adults at the center at all times. She said volunteers will decrease the adult to child ratio and provide more of an opportunity for mentorship for the children.
"Boys and Girls Club is all about helping kids grow up to be productive, responsible, successful adults," Ball said. "Whether they come for an afternoon snack or help with their homework we hope to connect them with positive role models."
Ball said Boys and Girls Club members are more likely to do well in school and go on to college.
Goshen Township Trustees Bob Hausermann and Ray Autenrieb were at the check presentation to congratulate Taylor and thank everyone for their donations.
"We appreciate you making the donation and we appreciate JT (Officer Taylor) for orchestrating the whole concept of a Boys and Girls Club here," Hausermann said. "Thank you very much."