The legacy of the late Allan “Al” Whitlow continues on through the announcement of the Al Whitlow Experience (AWE) mentoring program at Boys & Girls Club of Michigan City.
Whitlow, who unexpectedly passed away on November 19, 2017, served as the executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Michigan City for 13 years from 2001 to 2014. His long list of achievements that impacted the people and the programs of Michigan City also include service as a teacher, assistant principal, principal and assistant superintendent for Michigan City Area Schools. He had coached the area’s youth, and he had been an at-large member of the Michigan City Common Council for two years upon his death at age 78.
Although the Club has offered a successful mentoring program for years, first formed under Whitlow’s direction, the Al Whitlow Experience will encompass and expand elements already in place and will allow for more Club members to be reached, taking what’s offered to the next level.
The Al Whitlow Experience at Boys & Girls Club of Michigan City will be now be offered for children ages 5 to 18 at all three Club locations: the Charles R. Wescott Club in the former Elston Middle School building at 321 Detroit Street and the Club extensions at Pine Elementary School and Springfield Elementary School. The goal is a 60-minute, one-on-one mentoring session held on a weekly basis.
At the heart of the Al Whitlow Experience will be the “Progress through Conversation” component.
“It was always about his communication skills,” explained Jo Ann Engquist, a close friend of Whitlow’s for four decades who worked under his supervision both through the MCAS and as assistant director of the Boys & Girls Club of Michigan City. “Knowing him through the years, I saw how he approached people and how they interacted with him. He listened and people immediately trusted him.”
In addition to good listening skills, Lewis said the Club is “looking for a diverse cross-section of people that believe in our kids.” Those interested in becoming a part of the AWE Experience can complete an application at the Charles R. Westcott Club or apply online at www.bgclubmc.org; all mentors will receive a background check. Anyone interested in donating to the Al Whitlow Experience can also do so through the Club website or by mailing checks to the AWE Program, 321 Detroit Street; Michigan City, Indiana 46360. For more information, the staff at the BGCMC administrative office can also be contacted at 219.873.2298.
The Boys & Girls Club of Michigan City is a private, not-for-profit organization that serves nearly 600 youth ages five to eighteen in the community. It is a member of Boys & Girls Club of America, which is a nationwide affiliation of 4,100 local autonomous Club organizations that work to help young people of all backgrounds develop the qualities they need to become responsible citizens and leaders.
For more information about the Boys & Girls Club of Michigan City, please visit www.bgclubmc.org or “The Boys and Girls Club of Michigan City” on Facebook.