To the editor:

For the past 30-plus years, it has been my honor and privilege to be the director of the Lide White Memorial Boys & Girls Club. I am a "child advocate" and one of the most important duties I have is to help our children to be the absolute best they can be and to shoot for the stars and to strive to be great!

I have lived most of my life in this beautiful community and I know of no other community that could offer more to families and their children than Madison and Jefferson County.

Our children are our most valuable assets. If we don't teach them to be kind, caring and truthful, then we aren't doing our job as responsible, caring adults and citizens. At the Club, we strive to teach the children that they should always treat each other with respect and the way they wish to be treated.

In November, the Club will celebrate 60 years of service to Madison, Jefferson County and the surrounding communities.

I would encourage all of us to be more active in city and county government, to explore and educate ourselves about programs and special events in our community. To volunteer and support not-for-profit organizations like the Boys & Girls Club, Girls Inc., Boys Scouts, Girl Scouts, 4-H, the Salvation Army and other organizations that are making positive impacts on the citizens of our community.

I encourage people to learn more about new initiatives like "ENVISION Jefferson County" and the local schools' improvement plans ..... to go to their meetings and voice your concerns. I encourage everyone to be a part of the solution to improve our lives and our community.

We need everyone to pull together and to continue to work to keep our community the best place to live, raise our families and our children! Our children are the greatest investment we can make for they are our future.

Ray Black Jr.

Executive Director Lide White

MemorialBoys & Girls Club/Family & Community Center