WILMINGTON — Every weekday at 5 p.m. students and staff come together for a community meeting and shared snack at the Clinton County Youth Council (CCYC), an after-school youth center on Sugartree in Wilmington.
It may seem like a small gesture of community, but its impact on the students, most of whom are at-risk, is far greater.
Part ritual, education, community-building, and outreach, the CCYC snack program reaches an average of 25-35 students daily — providing over 5,000 after-school snacks annually. It’s made possible through the support of Church Women United, which coordinates a different church in the community to provide food donations each week. These donations are then received, prepared, and served by CCYC students.
“The support of Church Women United through food donations has been vitally important to our youth outreach,” said Eric Guindon, Executive Director of the CCYC.
“Besides the nutrition we provide, snack time is an opportunity for students to learn cooking skills, positive sharing, and community service. Students are eager to participate in the preparation and serving of the snack. A number of our kids don’t have consistent access to nutritious, home-cooked foods, and the stability of our snack program is both physically and emotionally important to them.”
Before eating, all students come together for a community meeting where they discuss current events, present positive thoughts of the day, and share personal stories. This check-in keeps students centered during the four-hour after-school program, and provides opportunity for reflection amidst homework, Frisbee golf, coding club, music exploration, and other activities.
The CCYC has been providing safe shelter, mentoring, and a snack or meal to Clinton County Youth in grades 6-12 for over 17 years. The CCYC is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and is entirely grant funded.
It is located at the old Main Elementary School at 302 W. Sugartree St.; operating hours are Monday-Friday from 2:50-7 p.m.
“Our crucial after-school services and community initiatives are not possible without the support of community members and organizations like Church Women United who place value in serving the youth of Clinton County,” said Guindon. “In order to meet the needs of our most at-risk students, our services remain free. With this in mind, we ask that you give where you live and make a donation to the CCYC this holiday season.”
CCYC is a fund partner of the Clinton County Foundation. The “Give Where You Live” campaign is part of the Foundation’s commitment to build bridges of kindness and generosity for our community’s nonprofit organizations. Secure online donations can be made at www.tinyurl.com/giveccyc. For questions about sponsorship opportunities, contact Eric Guindon at 937-382-2828.