In 1964, fifty-five years ago, Alveta Houston Hawk envisioned a place where young black boys, who lived in a neighborhood called Baptist Bottom, could go to have fun in constructive ways. She concluded that a “boys” club was the answer. A membership charter was issued by the national Boys Clubs of America and history was made in the small city in southeast (Dothan) Alabama. Under the direction of the national organization, what began as the Hawk-Houston Boys Club of Dothan changed its name to Hawk-Houston Boys & Girls Clubs in 1991 when it started admitting girls, and again in 2009 the name changed to Boys & Girls Clubs of Hawk-Houston.
Again, we have undergone another transition as our long-time membership charter was revoked in December 2017 by the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. It was a privilege and an honor to be a part of such a great organization. There is an old saying that one should praise the bridge that carries them across safely. Boys & Girls Clubs of America was that bridge for us. It was BGCAs core programs and services that enabled Hawk-Houston to have a lasting and positive impact upon thousands of youths it served for over half a century.
In February 2018, the Board of Directors came together to begin the process of charting the future of the newly formed Hawk-Houston Youth Enrichment Center. As a result, the board adopted a 2018-2020 Strategic Plan of Action along with a new mission and vision statement; identified and prioritized eight strategic goals. The board also identified the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) that would determine and/or impact both our mission and vision for the future.
However, as an independent, community-based non-profit organization, we will continue to build upon what started 55 years ago by expanding programs and services and outreach. We are now in a better position to design, develop and implement our year-round, out-of-school programs and services that will benefit our targeted population of children, families and senior citizens. The Hawk-Houston Youth Enrichment Center will continue to serve those youth in grades K-12, and families that need us the most while recognizing that ”need” is not limited to those considered underserved or economically disadvantaged.
The transition is a huge challenge for our organization, but our commitment is bigger. We know and believe that great things will come from within the youth we serve. Our commitment is to instill in them the values, ethics and life-skills that will better prepare them to become great individuals, leaders, and world citizens—-It is their duty and responsibility. We are more than a neighborhood–we are a community!
“…praise God, what a past I had! Joys, grief, disappointments, love. I guess most people have all of these things, but for me, everything seemed so intense. I am proud of my life. I hope that what I leave behind will be pleasing to God, because He has been my guide for all of my life.” Excerpt from Cookies & Lemonade” biography of Alveta Houston Hawk by Elaine Slaughter