Boys & Girls Club makes better students, community members

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Stuart Dodge is a volunteer at the Auburn Boys & Girls Club working as an after-school tutor for homework. If you’re interested in getting involved at the club, call (530) 889-2273 or visit online at What does your organization do? A: Well basically, it’s a safe place for children to come — where they have friends and there are adults that care about them. They can do their homework, they can play. It’s an alternative to gangs, that’s how I look at it, and these kids learn to be a part of the community and do good things. It’s also been great for kids and their schoolwork. You talk to teachers and they will tell you the Boys & Girls Club has helped a lot … because they’re getting their homework done, and because there’s somebody there helping them along. Why do you volunteer? A: The advantages I’ve had because of other people who helped me along the way when I needed it — I haven’t forgotten it. I just want to pay it forward. It just makes for a better country and a better community (when you volunteer). The kids just give so much back to you. Everybody has something to give, and it’s amazing how little it takes to give. What are your highlights or challenges to volunteering? A: It’s amazing how much you can accomplish with just a few kind words, and encourage them to do their homework, to show them that there are adults that care about them and love them and help them. I think that’s something that’s important to tell them. I like working with children that have had a hard time. I like to sit down and work with them more than anyone else. We get kids here that don’t read. It’s amazing that after a couple years you see them reading and advancing with the help of the Auburn Boys & Girls Club. It’s so important to keep them on a level of education so that they can advance. I think that was one of the coolest things was working with a child that couldn’t read and seeing them read later. What do you do when you’re not volunteering? A: I’m retired. I stay physically fit and I exercise at the gym. I work at my daughter’s second-grade class in Lincoln doing the same thing I do at the Boys & Girls Club. I go down one day a week and visit with my mother, who is 91, and still volunteers at the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Sacramento. We travel a lot, too … we just did a 16-day cruise down to the Panama Canal. I’m always busy, there’s so much to do and so many holes to fill — it makes me feel good. How can people volunteer their time or money? A: It’s just about putting yourself out there, knocking on the door or calling. Come to the club, or give them a call, ask if there is anything they need, and that you’re available. They try to match you up to what you’re good at. ~ Andrew DiLuccia