Club Jerry I.A.P. Charter
Adapted June 22, 2003
Jerry Donovan, the founder of Club Jerry, I.A.P., was born in Ontario, Canada, where he first felt his calling to the vocation of missionary work. He began his work in Mexico in 1984, and in Guaymas in 1991. While working in his carpentry shop, children would come to him asking if they could borrow his skates. It was then that he saw the strong need for a place that the wandering youth could go to find retreat from the violent and
aggressive environment. He felt a strong need to give direction to these children, and since 1993 has served the people of Guaymas, thus fulfilling his vocation he had always been called to do. The reason why this club has been so successful is because of his commitment and consistency in dealing with the youth. Seen to many as a father figure, Jerry uses his natural instinct for human nature to provide a unique environment with strong Christian values that are an example to the children who partake in it.
“Dignity, nobility, self-esteem, respect, discipline,
order, responsibility, commitment, motivation.
What do you have when a person is taught these things? ….A leader”
- Jerry Donovan
The mission of Club Jerry will be accomplished through promoting four simple core characteristics: values, self-esteem, respect, and discipline.
Values are promoted within the daily routine of the Club for all three age groups. It is simple, but very consistent and structured, which is exactly what the children need.
The Elementary Level:
1. The club opens in the afternoon for the children of ages 7 through 11, around 2 pm. The first children to arrive have the responsibility to clean and sweep the club or do whatever needs to be done in order to take care of their club.
2. The life skills moderator signs each child in, officially greets and welcomes them, and then informs the new children of the rules. This is one of the key elements of the Club, because the moderator personally knows every member of the club. This moderator is present everyday to greet the children with a handshake, thus stressing the importance of salutation in the Mexican society and providing the consistency that is essential in every child’s life.
3. Throughout the afternoon, certain times are established for certain activities, such as skating from opening until 4:30, and soccer from 4:30 to closing.
4. As the children choose their games to play, they formulate the habit of asking before they begin. A notebook is at hand to keep track of what the children have borrowed from the club, mainly items like basketballs, skates and skateboards. This teaches the children manners and responsibility.
5. At 5:30, all of the children are called, and by one simple call “Noticias” (news) they all come running, to an end of the day meeting. Here the children are informed of any announcements, and a select few are chosen to clean up. The
children that are not cleaning form two lines (a girls’ line and a boys’ line) and exit the club in an orderly fashion. As they exit, the moderator shakes hands with each child, and they bless each other. It is at this point that it is easy to see how much the children love coming to Jerry’s Club. Some will actually get back in line for a second handshake.
1. From 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm, boys and girls from ages 12 to 16 come to socialize in the safe environment of the club. It is very important for this age group to also have a place to belong, aside from the younger children.
2. The routine is very much the same as during the day, except the atmosphere is a little more relaxed. This group is older and can handle a few more privileges. For example, borrowed items are not written down, but the adolescents are still taught to ask if they may use the club’s materials, promoting responsibility.
3. Among this group of young teens, a group of young men have formed Los Comprometidos, “The Committed Ones”. This group has partaken in the activities within the club and has committed themselves to giving back to the community what they have received. This support group guides and strengthens them to follow and use Christian values in their daily lives. They meet every Saturday at the club to do community services. It is this group that is a perfect example of the club’s growth, and the direction in which it is going. Due to Club Jerry, these young men have received development in their lives that will enable them to go out and touch the lives of others.
The Young Adults:
1. The young adults are the former elementary children and adolescents of the club. Contact is kept with this group through the Internet Café that has been established, and leadership activity roles.
2. It is within the club’s vision that one day Club Jerry will be able to provide scholarship programs, develop specified job skills, and career opportunities for these committed individuals.
It takes confidence in one’s self when striving to overcome the violence, drug addiction, and poverty in an environment, and this self-esteem is exactly what Club Jerry provides for its youth. The members of the club are good people, and the Club supplies them with opportunity to prove their integrity. Through enrichment, education, and participation, the delinquent youth are changed into respectable members of the community. Activities that they would otherwise not have the chance to participate in, such as mountain climbing, provide the youth with the fortitude to overcome the crises within their own lives. This self-confidence trickles into their home environments and affects the community on a greater scale, because the children want to be good children, not because they have to be. The qualities instilled by Club Jerry aid children in learning to appreciate themselves, their emotions, and to be more sensitive so that they will grow into wholesome adults who will pass on these values to their own children.
Respect for self and others are largely encouraged character qualities, which are included within the rules and expectations of the club. The guidelines laid out by the club are simple, but what makes the system unique is that there are clear and logical reasons why every rule is made. Making rules and stressing consistency in a structured and secured environment creates respect in multiple ways. This is exemplified in the following rules.
· Every member shakes hands and greets the moderator upon entrance to the club so that, the importance of salutation can be met, along with providing consistency that is essential in every child’s life.
· Every member is taught to ask the moderator’s permission before getting out games, skates, skateboards, etc, so that a shared respect and trust can be had between the adults and the children.
· All games and activities should be picked up after being played with, because it is every member’s duty to help take care of their club.
· Every day, each child can borrow the skates, skateboards, and basketballs once, so that every person wanting to play can have a turn.
· There is no swearing, name calling, lying, stealing, kicking, hitting, or fighting, because every member of the club is a person and they deserve respect.
· There are no drugs of any kind allowed in the club, because the importance of self-respect is vital to one’s well-being and lifelong success.
It is important to teach the youth discipline so that good mannerisms will develop into habits. In doing so, a psychological approach is taken when disciplinary action is needed. It is clearly understood that when the children act out in unacceptable ways, they are essentially expressing emotions that are concentrated feelings of anger and fear. It becomes the club’s responsibility to channel the emotions by reprimanding the children for their lack of respect for self and others, physical violence, drug abuse, or verbal abuse. The child is shown that their negative actions promote negative consequences, such as being suspended from a specific game, or from the club if necessary, for a reasonable amount of time. The children are able to resume their play after they are willing to talk about their offense, which is a rule that develops communication, problem solving skills, and reconciliation. By following the rules of the club, self-discipline, respect, and responsibility are learned, and a sense of belonging is created. The consistency of discipline by club leaders is important because the children learn to control their bodies and emotions, thus resulting in lifelong self-discipline.
As the first club moderator, Jerry Donovan has set a model example of how to facilitate the club activities. The purpose of this position is to educate the children on the life skills that they do not receive in their home environments. Teaching manners, sharing, obedience, and patience helps to create noble and dignified leaders of the community. This position at Club Jerry is not just a job, but like any other educator’s field, it is a vocation. Commitment is the first and foremost quality that future moderators must
encompass. The children who attend the club are looking for a stable environment
where they can play without the fear of being abandoned. A deep love for the children and youth is also a vital quality for future moderators to have, so that the genuine spirit of the club can continue and be established in all future clubs. This love is shown by being sensitive to the children’s’ needs and observant of their behaviors and emotions.
The ability to recognize a child’s anger and fear being expressed in other ways is a gift that not all of us are given. All life skills moderators must be trained to utilize psychology, because without this, it is impossible for any person to take responsibility for Club Jerry’s future. Under the psychological approach, each child is looked at as an individual; a person with problems all of his or her own. Through the simple solution of PLAY, children are able to vent out their anger and heal themselves in a comfortable environment. The core values of the club enable the children to channel their anger so that their suppressed emotions can be dealt with in a positive, rather than negative, manner.
Once each month, the thirteen members on the board of directors meet to discuss the legalities of Club Jerry. Aside from running the club legally, the board also forms
subcommittees to provide programs for volunteers, fundraising, and future Club Jerry growth.
At the present time, no employees are hired through Club Jerry. As the club is rapidly growing, however, the need for assistance is at hand. The employees will one day be hired by the Life Skills Moderator to assist him or her with activities, supervision, and to help facilitate and coordinate volunteer activities. Aside from assistants, the Life Skills Moderator will also be responsible for hiring a maintenance staff, sports moderator,
special events coordinator, an office administrator for bookkeeping, as well as other Life
Skills Moderators for newly developing clubs. These employees will be trained at the central offices and then sent out to their designated clubs.
A volunteer program has been set up in which single persons or groups can participate in activities with the children. The volunteers are encouraged to provide their own activities, but a book of games is provided through the club in which they choose an activity. As the club grows, more volunteers will be needed to organize extracurricular activities within the community, such as sports teams.
Club Jerry depends on its generous benefactors for support in helping the club to run and progress. Donations are always welcome, in any form – be it money, clothes, toys, etc. Club Jerry is a Mexican non-profit organization, and requires a variety of help.
The employees and volunteers are people who are able to give time and talent to the club, but people who are willing to donate monetarily are also absolutely necessary.
“It is more than just a place… it is life. ”- Jerry Donovan
The majority of the children that Club Jerry serves are raised in a conflictive and violent
environment, where they have learned to survive by utilizing aggression. The vision of
the club is to teach elementary boys and girls, adolescents, and youth that there is an alternative to their angry lifestyles, where one can grow and develop in a peaceful and joyful environment. The club is a place where the seed of love is implanted, and the children are the carriers of peace into their own neighborhoods, where they themselves will transform their own environment into a peaceful, respectful community.
Eventually the parents and elders who are touched by the children will also find themselves becoming involved in Club Jerry’s activities. Parenting classes and enrichment programs will be established in order to reach the older branch of the community, so that every age group of the society can reap the benefits of Club Jerry’s presence. After the current club has reached its full potential, then new clubs will begin to develop throughout Guaymas, and even onto other parts of Latin America. There is no other organization like this south of the United States, and what the club will accomplish in the third world will be amazing. To carry out this vision, it will take many years, and possibly decades, but through patience and prayer, Club Jerry’s vision will be achieved in good time.
Work in progress for the charter…
Policies and procedures
· Rules – actions and consequences
· Daily routine, detailed