Local trust provides generous funding to Martin County’s boys and girls

STUART – With a dedication toward the future of our community’s children, trustees of the William A. & Helen S. Thomas Charitable Trust on Wednesday provided the largest grant for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Martin County in its long giving history to the Clubs.

In a time when low-cost after-school and summer youth development programs are needed more than ever, the William A. & Helen S. Thomas Charitable Trust gave the Boys & Girls Clubs of Martin County a grant of $40,000 for a suite of programs known as Project Learn.

“The trustees of the William A. & Helen S. Thomas Charitable Trust have cared about the children in this community for generations,” said Bonney Johnson, the vice president of U.S Trust, representing the William A. & Helen S. Thomas Charitable Trust. “Educational enrichment and opportunity are priorities, and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Martin County’s Project Learn is crucial to the academic success of hundreds of children.”

Project Learn, run by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Martin County, for all members age 6 to 18 at the five Club branches in the county, includes the following evidence-based programs:

* Power Hour, a dedicated hour immediately after school focused on academic improvement. Children have their homework checked by a trained youth development professional or certified teacher, and they receive extra tutoring if needed to improve their grades and school readiness.

* Paws To Read, a program run in collaboration with the Humane Society of the Treasure Coast, that pairs struggling readers with trained canines who will listen patiently as the child reads out loud. This program has been found to increase self-esteem and motivate reluctant readers in a most furry way!

* NetSmartz, a program developed in collaboration with Boys & Girls Clubs of America and the National Centers for Missing and Exploited Children, teaches children how to use the Internet safely. This age-appropriate program must be completed before Club members use the computers for work or fun.

*SMART Moves, which stands for Skills Mastery And Resistance Training, is a science-based, age-appropriate program that teaches children how to make smart decisions and avoid drugs, alcohol and delinquent behaviors that stop them from reaching their full potential.

“In a time when state and federal funding has been cut, we are grateful that the William & Helen Thomas Trust has been willing to increase their already-generous support of our most important programs,” said Anne McCormick, the executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Martin County.

The late William A. and Helen S. Thomas were generous philanthropists throughout their lifetime. Prior to William Thomas’s death in 2001, he resided in Stuart with his wife of 61 years, Helen. He was a salesman for ARCO Company for many years and the chairman of the board for Enabling Technologies Braille Embossers and Printers. Before her passing in 2005, Helen Thomas was a nurse and a staunch supporter of medical education. As part of their legacy, they established the William A. and Helen S. Thomas Charitable Trust, which is managed by U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management. Trustees include Bank of America, N.A., James H. Elam, James P. Keffler, Marilyn A. Moore and C. Dennis Blanz.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Martin County strives to enable and inspire all young people, especially those who need us the most, to reach their full potential as responsible, caring and productive citizens. Membership costs just $25 for the entire school year and all programs are included. To learn more, log on to www.bgcmartin.org or call (772) 545-1255.