Joel Adams called it “a pretty emotional moment” when the children descended from the first school bus delivering them to the door of the Boys & Girls Club of Daleville three months ago.
Adams is the chairman of the board of directors for the three month old club and the driving force behind the project that transformed the former Boy Scout Hut on Donnell Boulevard into a viable children’s after school program.
“A day of new beginnings, new opportunities for not only our children but also our parents and our community,” Adams said as he welcomed those attending the official ribbon cutting of the club Oct. 30, 2020. “We will strive to provide a positive place for our children, a safe, structured environment that many children need and want but it’s going to take all of us working together.”
Daleville Mayor Jayme Stayton agreed. “Without Joel, we couldn’t have made this happen,” Stayton said at the ribbon cutting. “In the beginning there seemed to be so many challenges for him and he overcame every single one of them, both by thinking traditionally and by thinking out of the box.
“Boys & Girls Clubs are known nationwide,” Stayton said. “There are a lot of people who come to this area because of Fort Rucker and one thing they look for is a program for their children—and now Daleville has one.”
The initial membership of 18 children has grown to 32 children in the Daleville club which is under the direction of Site Director Jonathan Benjamin and Assistant Director April Spencer. State Sen. Donnie Chesteen and State Rep. Steve Clouse attended the ribbon cutting in October and both had high praise for the new Daleville club and its leadership. Daleville City Schools Superintendent Dr. Lisa Stamps agreed.
“As we sought around to find a person to lead this organization we knew we needed someone who would be here everyday to put feet to the idea. We were very blessed to find Jonathan Benjamin,” Stamps said. “He helped start the Enterprise Boys & Girls Club. He has the vision and experience as a former military person with a lot of experience with kids, he has the initiative to make this happen.”
Adams agreed. “Our vision here is to provide a safe, structured environment for kids under the guidance of a professional staff member,” he said. “Jonathan was definitely the icing on the cake.”
“Very organized,” is what Stamps called Spencer, a former board member hired as assistant site manager. “She has a lot of really great ideas and assisted us so much with our fundraising,” Stamps said. “We would not be here today without all of her efforts.”
“At the state legislature we have a line item to help Boys & Girls clubs all over the state and we look forward to helping them,” Clouse said.
“This is a great day because of turning a vision of this into a reality,” Chesteen said. “In our small towns today that is what it’s going to take. We have to recapture that ownership and city pride.
“You can take buildings like this and turn them into something that’s going to make a difference in children’s lives. If there has ever been a time that we need that, now is the time,” Chesteen added. “We’re looking forward to seeing what you, Jonathan, and your team, can do shaping and changing these young lives as they come in here and become a part of this. Just like the sign says, ‘Great future start here.’”