Can You Be Of Service?

huddleCLRWhenever people mention the word VOLUNTEER, very few show up to help out. I think most people think that volunteering for something might take up too much of their time. They view their time as being too valuable. As though they require monetary compensation for everything they do. Other people feel as though they do not have ENOUGH time to be of service. And that is what keeps them from showing up.

Either way, these people are WRONG. Volunteering does not have to take up ALL of your free time. As a matter of fact,in a lot of cases it is the smallest of things that has the largest impact on people.I know first hand how this can happen.

In 2007 I had major surgery for my breast cancer. I came out after 10 hours of surgery. A someone who was used to working out a lot, the year long recovery time seemed like an eternity. At the time  we had a golden retriever. Her name was Dutchess. She was probably the best dog I have ever had. As part of my come back after surgery, Dutchess and I started walking. I live not too far from the beach. And there is a walkway, that is two miles long.

Neither one of us was in great shape when we began walking together. I was just getting my strength back and Dutchess needed to lose a few pounds. We both got winded the first few times we walked within the first fifteen minutes. But we kept on going. It was not that long before we were walking a mile four to five days a week. It was during these walks that a curious thing .began happening.

One day we were walking along when to my right there was a woman in a wheelchair. She had positioned herself underneath the shade of a tree. As we went to pass by, Dutchess walked straight over to her. As she approached the woman in the chair, I had my heart in my throat. I was afraid she was going to try and jump into the woman’s lap.

But what happened next took my breath away and made my eyes fill with tears. Dutchess walked over to this woman and gently placed her head in the woman’s lap so she could be petted. All the while her tail was wagging as though she had found her  favorite toy. Over the next few years we met plenty of people along our walks who were disabled. I did not notice them myself. Dutchess had a radar for them. And every time we stopped  for her to give them some of her time they were endlessly grateful.

One little girl who had downs syndrome would not let us leave until her grandmother took a picture of her with Dutchess… the little girl was holding the leash in the picture…

I lost my beloved Dutchess two years ago to old age. But I have learned that anyone can volunteer. Even when you do not think you have anything to offer. One kind word or a few minutes to listen to someone who is all alone. These are the gifts that money cannot buy!!

Find a way to share your gift today!!

Parents: Do you know what your children are into this summer?

Parents: Do you know what your children are into this summer?

By Matthew Hite Amarillo, Texas

YIPPEE it’s summer time, kids are out and about, staying up late, sleeping in… Some organized activies but LOT and LOT of free time…  WAIT!  Parents this is a fun time for your kids but please be vigilant with what your kids are doing and where they are going.

Sometimes kids go and stay at their friends houses for a day or two or hang out all day places.  Do you know where they are, exactly, and what they are doing?  If they are staying at a friends or neighbors, cousins, schoolmates, etc; Do you know who else is there and what type activities go on there?

This is a breeding ground for lots of activities that you may NOT want your kiddos involved in or it could be a great safe and enjoyable experience for your kiddos.  How do you know?

Did you know that Childcare’s are required to screen visitors and keep your kids safe but they are also required to allow parent to watch, visit, and see exactly what goes on in the childcare.  Even with this policy bad things happen in childcares everyday.  It would be GREAT if these same policies were in place everywhere our children go, but that’s not the case.  If your kiddos are going somewhere and you don’t have access to them or can’t check on them…… Something is WRONG!

Here is a quick check-list of things you can do to make sure your kiddos are safe AND not into anything you don’t want them to be in.

  1. Keep in touch, Cell phones are a great thing
  2. Be honest and open with your kids about expectations while they are away from the house.
  3. Know and talk with the parents, adults and people that are around your kiddos
  4. An unannounced drop by to check on your kiddos is a GREAT idea, anytime.
  5. Check your kiddos social media and internet and see what they are posting and who they are with
  6. If you are uncomfortable with a situation just tell your kiddo(s) “NO” but be real with them and tell them why.
  7. Talk with your kiddo(s) make sure they know how to keep there body safe AND to get away if they become uncomfortable for any reason.
  8. Let your kiddo(s) know that you are there fro them and even if they are embarrassed or uncomfortable;  they can trust you to be there for them, no matter what and that they can tell you anything, anytime!  Open honest dialog.
  9. Be part of your kiddos life, do things with them and there friends.  Take interest in them and their activities!

Please use this check-list when they go to friends houses, go to a camp, enroll in a program or spend a lot of time anywhere.

It’s important with all the drugs going around that your children know the boundaries you have set for them and that YOU help them keep those boundaries and help them stay safe and secure.  There are many predators out there as well; know whom your kiddos are around and what influences those people have on them and what they are doing.


Did you know that enrolling in a class, program or activity with your child is a great way to get to know them and learn with them?  You get to see their friends and interactions with others and become a more in-depth part of their life.  Your kiddo will learn that we all learn, even as parents and its ok not to be in control all the time.

It is important to note that some kiddos get embarrassed when their parents are directly involved.  Sometimes your kiddos need to be away to grow more independent and to learn on there own.  As a parent you  can’t shelter your kiddos and be there every second of everyday.


The AAYC has an open door policy, we invite you to come to any of our programs with your kid(s). Join the program and participate if you’ like.  The more adults and parent we have the better.  All our programs are designed so that the kiddos can go independently or with an older family member.


The AAYC also screens all our volunteers and staff to make sure they are safe and our administrative team is always watching the classes, programs, activities, other adults, parents and even kids because we want YOUR children to be safe.  Make sure the places your kiddos go are safe for your kids.

AAYC Child Safety Initiative

AAYC Child Safety Initiative Take a stand with us against Child Abuse

The AAYC Child Safety Initiative is one way WE work with our community, families and law enforcement agencies to keep your kids, our kids safe as we help develop them into future leaders of Amarillo.

Our goal is to help inform parents, please free free to copy and post this information. If you’d like to publish in pleae contact for permission.

What Childhood Is Made Of…

bronze-children-statues are long summer days filled with laughter and playing.That is for children who are healthy and living in a family structure that is loving and supportive. But summer can be long and torturous for those who are the victims of child abuse. If you are saying to yourself “I do not know any child who is being abused” you may not be able to recognize some obvious signs.

Children who are abused are usually afraid to speak up.They have been warned that something FAR worse will happen to them if they say anything to anyone. They remain silent also from a sense of shame. These feelings are drilled into their head from those who are abusing them. They have been told over and over again that they are stupid or unworthy of what everyone else is getting.

I knew of a child whose mother would hit her the majority of the time she was growing up. The mother never laid a finger on her older brother. One day the mother told the little girl that she knew exactly when to stop hitting her as to avoid causing any bruising. No one would ever suspect that the mother was abusing her. There were no outward signs and the mother had a prominent position in the town.

This plan would have worked indefinitely for the mother except for one thing. As the daughter grew up she developed an eating disorder. At one of her annual checkups the doctor told the mother that the child’s condition warranted contacting the authorities. The girl was close to being emaciated. She stood five feet four inches  tall and weighed a mere ninety eight pounds.

For the first time the mother was the one in the spotlight.Suddenly the little girls world changed dramatically for the better. Her mother went out of her way to make sure the child was eating every meal every day. That was something that had never happened before. It took that little girl a long time to get to a weight that was in normal range.

She was one of the lucky ones. Most of the time children remain silently imprisoned in a world created by the adults who surround them! The only way to create change is to BE the change!!