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Youth club seeks help for DC trip

Pictured are members of the youth club: standing are Brennan Banks, Danielle Alister and Johnnesha Godwin. Sitting are Nate Garred, Cierra Thomas, Electa Royal, Johnna Seward, Carol Seward, Zakia Lee, Regina Morris and Matt Thomas. THE TRIBUNE/JESSICA ST JAMES

Seventeen-year-old Electa Royal hopes an upcoming trip to the District of Columbia will be a chance to learn a little more about her favorite president.

“(I want to see) all the historical sites especially the Lincoln Memorial,” Royal said. “Lincoln’s one of my favorite presidents. I like everything he did.”

The Ironton High School senior and 12 of her peers in the Imani and Ujima youth clubs are planning to travel to the nation’s capital and on to Michigan for the Central Region Youth Convention July 18 through 25.

To do so, however, they need a little help from the community. Youth supervisor Carol Seward is hoping that businesses and individuals will help the youth clubs meet their goal of $4,000 to take the 13 club members on the trip.

So far the clubs have raised $2,400 with fundraisers like selling concessions at the Memorial Day weekend basketball tournament and by selling candy bars. They also have a car wash and bake sale fundraiser coming up. Still, Seward projects that with fundraising efforts between now and the trip, the clubs will still be $1,300 short of their goal.

“The trip to Washington D.C. is something we do every other year,” Seward said. “Youth do not get to travel to Washington D.C. through the school patrols like in the past. We felt Washington D.C. has so many educational sites to offer and wanted to give youth the opportunity to see them.”

The trip will include visits to such sites as the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, Arlington National Cemetery, the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and others.

Seward said she wants the students to learn about national history and see all of the historical sites. Many of the youths’ families do not have the resources to fund a trip like this, she added.

The trip will be a first for Regina Morris, 14, who’s never been to Washington D.C. before.

“(I’m looking forward to) seeing the different sites and being in a different place,” she said. “Maybe the museum they have there.”

The trip is one way the club hopes to meet its goal of encouraging the students to become productive members of the community. The clubs, whose names mean “faith” and “work and responsibility” respectively, were organized by the Women’s Civic Club in 2001 to teach young people the value of civic duties, Seward, said. They are members of the Ohio Association of Youth Clubs, as well as the Regional and National Association of Youth Clubs.

“I’m trying to teach them to be community-minded because you need the community,” she said. “It reflects you. The goal is to teach them to be community and civic-minded.”

As such, the club members visit nursing home patients, raise money for the March of Dimes and Feed the Children and participate in the county cleanup day, Seward said.

Seward said she encourages the community to help out.

“Our primary goal with any trip is to educate our members through travel, history and to promote Ironton and the state of Ohio,” Seward said. “The community has always supported us and any amount would be greatly appreciated. We would appreciate any support.”

Seward can be contacted at 550-0285 or by emailing jaseward@roadrunner.com.