Thursday, March 28, 2013

Face to face with Jesus

The Thursday before that first Easter Jesus observed Passover with His disciples in a private room. As their Rabbi, He probably spoke to them of Israel's slavery in Egypt and how Yahweh rescued them from the hands of Pharaoh when the death angel passed over the homes of those with lambs' blood on the doorposts. Perhaps John (the youngest of the 12) took on the role of asking the four pertinent questions.

As the meal progressed Jesus changed the script when He took the bread, broke it in half, and said, "This is my body, broken for you". Then He took the cup of wine and said, "This is my blood, spilled for you." Don't think for a moment that His disciples didn't notice the change. They had been observing the Passover since birth. I imagine a solemn pall fell over the room when Jesus said, "This will be the last meal I will share with you in this life." What?

The Scriptures tell us that after singing a song Jesus and His followers (save Judas Iscariot) made their way to the Garden of Gethsemane. This was a familiar place of retreat for them. I am sure they felt more relaxed, and may have even forgotten Jesus' remarks at supper. But their peaceful rest was shattered as the Temple Guard arrested Jesus and marched Him away. For most of them, this was the final time they would see Him alive.

After Jesus was questioned, falsely accused, declared guilty, condemned to death, and whipped, He was led to Golgotha for crucifixion. For three long hours His ravaged body hung on the cross. Some of the onlookers mocked Him. Others begged for His release. Finally, Jesus let out a hair-raising, bloodcurdling wail, exclaimed, "It is finished!" and God mercifully let Him die.

Jesus was buried in a garden tomb.

At daybreak on the day following the Sabbath (Sunday on our calendar), Mary Magdalene, Peter, and John all discovered that the tomb was empty. At first they thought someone had stolen their fallen Rabbi's body. But angels posted at the grave revealed to them the truth: "Why are you looking for the living among the dead? He is risen!" Later that day Jesus came face-to-face with the rest of His band, and their lives were never the same.

Have you come face-to-face with Jesus? Jesus lived - and died - and lives again, to bring you back into relationship with God your Father so that your life will never be the same.

-Major Jim Taylor
Tulsa Area Commander

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Salvation Army Easter Services

Easter is here already, can you believe it? It seems like yesterday I was writing a post about Christmas. How do you celebrate Easter -- by hunting brightly colored eggs, eating the ears off of chocolate bunnies, going to church? Maybe all three?  No matter how you celebrate Easter, have you thought about what Easter is or even how in the world the Easter bunny lays eggs?

Let’s start with the easy one first. Easter is the holiday we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus on the third day after his crucifixion. Okay, now for the slightly harder question, how did an egg-laying bunny come into play? Well, the first mention of Oschter Haws  (i.e the Easter Bunny) was mentioned in German writings back in the 1600s. Oschter Haws is a rabbit that lays a nest full of brightly colored eggs and candy for good boys and girls. The idea of Oschter Haws was brought to America in the 1700 by Dutch settlers.

Rabbits are known for their fertility especially during the spring (when we celebrate Easter) and eggs have been regarded as a symbol of new life since early Roman times. Put them both together and you have the Easter Bunny. A symbolic representation of the new life we have through Christ who died but rose again.

If you are looking for a church service or maybe a lovely Easter lunch then please consider joining us at one of our Corps.

Tulsa Citadel- 3901 East 28th Street, Tulsa.  Sunday School 10a.m., Morning Services 11a.m.

Center of Hope-102 North Denver Ave, Tulsa.  Easter Lunch 11a.m. -2 p.m., Evening Service 6:30 p.m.

Broken Arrow Corps- 1400 West Washington, Broken Arrow. Sunday School 9:45 a.m., Morning Services 11 a.m.

Sand Springs Corps-4403 South 129th West Avenue, Sand Springs.  Breakfast and fellowship 9:15 a.m., Sunday School 10 a.m., Morning Service 11a.m.


Monday, March 25, 2013

Boys & Girls Spring Into Action!

Club kiddos 'spring' into action!
Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club members are Springing Into Action today as they sell QuarterShare beef sticks in the first citywide club fundraising project ever. All six clubs in the Tulsa Metro area are participating in "Spring Into Action" a Boys & Girls Club fundraising program to sell QuarterShare Gourmet beef sticks. QuarterShare will give 50 percent of the profits from the sale of the beef sticks for funding the needs of the clubs.

Club cuties with QuarterShare beef sticks!
Then club members decide what to buy with the money they raise. The beef sticks will be sold from the clubs, on line and at area Walmart stores. The club that sells the most beef sticks will win a pizza party and the club member who sells the most beef sticks from their club will win a bike.

An exciting pep rally kicked off the campaign Wednesday, with an appearance by Hornsby, the Tulsa Drillers mascot, who had fun with Major April Taylor, master of ceremonies for the event. About 200 club members watched from the bleachers of the North Mabee Boys & Girls Club gym. Club directors Bethany Pousinho, Sand Springs, and Jake Law, Sapulpa demonstrated selling techniques.
Hornsby and Major April kick off the pep rally.

The members were also fascinated as members of the Oklahoma Defenders, an arena football team, talked how they to set and meet goals. Then students from Apollo's Martial Arts demonstrated how to break  thick wooden boards with their hands and feet.  It turns out that Apollo is an alumnus of the Mabee Red Shield Boys & Girls Club!

After the rally, club members lined up to get autographs from Defenders members, one of whom is an alum from the North Mabee Club. Randy "Boom Boom" Blake, a world champion kick boxer, also signed autographs. Club members left the rally pumped up to sell beef sticks!

To learn more, watch for "Spring Into Action" commercials on KOKI FOX-23 with Jeff Bruccaleri and listen to K-95.5FM and MIX 96 radio stations talk about the campaign during morning drive time.
Apollo Martial Arts students overcome obstacles!

We’re very grateful to our media partners for supporting Spring Into Action. To buy QuarterShare beef sticks, ask a member of the nearest club, watch for them at Walmart stores on March 30 and April 6,or click here to order online.
Oklahoma Defenders arena football team talk about setting goals.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Club Art show better than ever

The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club Annual Art Show was better than ever this year, with lots of parents attending and amazing art work. I’m no critic, but it seemed to me that many of the art works were just as good or better than art created by adults. And they were definitely more fun to see! Below right are Maj. Jim Taylor, Tulsa Area Commander and from the Mabee Red Shield Boys & Girls Club are Lauren Reed, club member, Melissa Gruszeczki, program director and Miss LaDonna, Young Rembrandts art teacher. Left are twins Ethan and Alex from the Mabee Red Shield Club along with their mom Kay Strmecki. 

Quite a few parents came to see their children’s art works and enjoy refreshments. For a complete listing of the winners, make sure you click to the second part of the story. For now, here are some of the grand prize winners.
Bailey Summers, "Guard Your Heart"

Michael McHenry, "Black Tree"

Coltin Hudgins, "Paul & Joe"

Sarah Olaleye, ”Flower Field”

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Meet basketball champion Anthony Wilson

Anthony & Jamar
To tell the story of Anthony Wilson, The Salvation Army West Mabee Boys & Girls Club Youth of the Year, is to also tell a story about Jamar Giddings, West Mabee club director. I’ve heard many stories of Jamar’s personal involvement and support of the club members, and Anthony’s story backs them up. I met Anthony earlier this week at the club. Anthony said he moved with him mom, Antoinnette, and his older brother from Chicago to Tulsa when he was five years old. His brother didn’t like to be with new people, but school friends of Anthony’s convinced him to try out the West Mabee Club.

Anthony said he immediately felt comfortable at the club and has been there ever since. He said his older brother is now in jail because of his bad decisions, but he has stayed on a positive path because of Jamar and the club.

“Jamar is a father figure to me. When I moved to South Tulsa, he’d pick me up at home so that I could be at the club every day. He picked me up the entire year when I was in the seventh grade,” Anthony said. 

One of the highlights of his club experience was winning the Salvation Army League Basketball Championship when he was in the fifth grade. Last week, he played with the Webster Warriors in their first state championship game in ten years. Six players on the 12-member team grew up playing basketball at the West Mabee Boys & Girls Club. Wilson is a point guard on the team and hopes to get a basketball scholarship to Bacone College in Muskogee next year. He plans to major in business and communications.
Anthony Wilson

I can’t help but wonder if Anthony had not joined the West Mabee Club and had not met Jamar if he would have ended up being on a championship team looking forward to college. I’m glad Jamar and the club programs helped teach Anthony to make good decisions in life. Anthony told me his Youth of the Year speech is going to be “from the heart.” I can’t wait to hear it at the banquet Monday evening!

If you are interested in attending the Youth of the Year Banquet, please call Jean Smith at 918-835-6902. Tables and individual tickets are available. If you would like to learn more about volunteering at a Boys & Girls Club, please call Jenny McElyea at 918-587-7801.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Meet Charles Gordon, Renaissance man

Charles Gordon
I have been an admirer of Charles Gordon since the first time I met him. He was 10 then and I asked him to appear in a golfing “Putt Off’ on KTUL-Channel 8’s Good Day Tulsa to promote the Boys & Girls Golf Tournament. Not only did he make a hole in one, to my surprise, he gave Keith Taylor quite a few useful tips on his swing, such as holding the club like a hot dog in a bun. Keith was surprised too.

But I don’t think anyone was surprised when Charles was selected as the Mabee Red Shield Boys & Girls Club Youth of the Year, because Charles is a veritable Renaissance man. He creates art, he plays sports and he likes to dream big. “I want to be an executive chef in a restaurant that I own,” he told me yesterday. Currently, he is looking into Platt College and a school in San Diego to study for his culinary arts degree. And he’s only 14!
Charles and Kristin Dickerson

He’s been a member of the Mabee Red Shield Club since he was five years old. His dad, Jerome Smith, is director of the club and his mom, Jean Smith, is an administrative assistant to David Litterell, who manages all six Boys & Girls Clubs. In addition to liking to cook, Charles plays the violin and takes glass blowing classes through the club. His favorite sport is baseball, although he isn’t able to play this season because of a knee injury. Charles goes to school at Union School’s Eighth Grade Center. He told me Thursday that he’s already memorized the speech he’ll make at the Youth of the Year banquet Mon., March 25.
Break a leg, Charles, just watch out for your knee!
If you are interested in attending the Youth of the Year Banquet, please call Jean Smith at 918-835-6902. Tables and individual tickets are available. If you would like to learn more about volunteering at a Boys & Girls Club, please call Jenny McElyea at 918-587-7801.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Record-breaking swimmer is BA Youth of the Year

Neariah's butterfly stroke
When my kids were in high school they hated answering questions. So before I interview high schoolers, I always wonder how it will go. I never should have worried about interviewing Neariah Persinger, the high school junior who is the Broken Arrow Boys & Girls Club  Youth of the Year. She is respectful, polite, modest and fun as we like all of our Boys & Girls Club members to be. Neariah will compete with two other Boys & Girls Club nominees for the honor of becoming Metro Tulsa's Youth of the Year. The decision will be announced at the Boys &
Girls Club banquet slated for Thurs., March 25 at University of Tulsa.

She is also the daughter of Shelley Persinger, who has been with the BA club’s aquatics program since Neariah was five years old, and Shelley is one of my favorite people. When I asked Neariah what she remembered about the club from when she was five, she said “playing in the sandbox.”
She has moved from the sandbox to the pool and in a big way: she broke two state swimming records that were 10 years old in the freestyle and butterfly strokes. The event was USA Swimming’s “New Year’s Invitational.”  In addition to swimming, Neariah is first or second in her class in academics. However, she revealed with a laugh that there are only two people in her class at New Covenant Academy in Broken Arrow.

Monday, March 11, 2013

5 Things You Don't Know About the Broken Arrow B&GClub

A few weeks ago, I went to visit the Boys & Girls Club down in Broken Arrow. I was familiar by sight with the Club, since I got married at Tarp Chapel across the street, lo these 5+ years ago.

Anyway, I met with longtime Club Director, Janis Fraley to pick her brain a little bit about grant-related needs and then got a grand tour of her Club. 

Here are five things that I learned about what makes the Boys and Girls Club of Broken Arrow wonderful and unique.

1. In addition to more traditional team sports like basketball and baseball, they Club is also home to an active karate program. And Ms. Janis has been teaching karate for more than 25 years!

Swimming = happy Club kids!
2. The Club's indoor swimming pool hosts Club open swim, community water aerobics, oh and, practices for the Broken Arrow High School varsity swim team.

3. Boy Scout Troop 995 meets at the Club every month and there are a LOT of Eagle Scout projects beautifying the Club property-- they've built picnic tables, sand boxes, and even outdoor decks for the Club kids use! 

4. Janis knows how to line up the support. When I visited, they were about a week out from the recent Bouncin' BBQ and had silent auction baskets stacked from floor to ceiling! Add to all those donated items, the recently donated desks and chairs from Ferguson Pontiac there in Broken Arrow, Janis' Club was chock full of community support!

Swinging = happy Challenger kids!
5. Lastly, the BA Club is known for miles around for their Challenger programs designed for "differently abled" children and youth. More than 150 physically and/or mentally challenged kids play team sports on the "Challenger" baseball field, play on the wheelchair accessible swings and lap the fields on the Challenger Walk.

Pretty cool, huh? 
If have an interest in helping out at this great Club, you could volunteer your time or resources at the Club itself; contact Jenny McElyea Volunteer Coordinator at 918-587-7801

 Also, Teen area could use 2 new couches--teens sure are hard on furniture, aren't they? 

And lastly, Janis is collecting sponsors for Phase III of the Challenger Walk/Playground Expansion! Contact her directly for more information about this opportunity; 918-258-7545.

Rock on, BA! I'm impressed and inspired by what all you have going on at your amazing Club!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Army of Stars

I attended the Sand Springs Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club Army of Stars Saturday night and what an evening it was! The event raised $15,000 for scholarships for children who want to become Club members but whose parents can't afford it.
Mary Eubanks has the winning bid!

Approximately 75 elegantly-dressed Sandite 'stars' attended the event.  For me, the best moment of the event was when Chamber of Commerce President Mary Eubanks won the oak fireplace she had been eyeing all evening. Several other high ticket items were also in the live auction, led by Jamecia Reese.

Kelsie Hammonds
Country music singer Kelsie Hammonds, age 15, entertained the crowd with four selections. I’m no music expert, but that teenager can really belt it out. This is the fourth year she has sung for the event.

Captain Gesner and Major Taylor
In addition to the entertainment, Major Jim Taylor, Tulsa Area Commander, left,
showed a video about the Tulsa Command
and made a few comments,
along with Captain Gesner, right.

Bethany Pousinho, Club Director

 Bethany Pousinho, Club Director, updated us on activities at the club. In addition to the wonderful aquatics program at the club, children who are members also enjoy programs which support their athletic and academic growth.

The Army of Stars is the largest annual fund-raising event for the Sand Springs Boys & Girls Club.

 “Thanks to the City of Sand Springs and the community who supported the event.  I want to especially thank the people who donated auction items. This was our best success yet,” said Captain Patrick Gesner, the officer for the Sand Springs Corps.
Congratulations Sand Springs!

- Sallie

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Bouncin' BBQ a hit in BA

Dear Major Taylor,
I’m going to need a panoramic lens for my camera if you want me to photograph the baskets at the Broken Arrow Bouncin’ BBQ next year. They had 125 gift baskets up for auction and they sold all but two of them! They made $5,000! This will help the BA Boys & Girls Clubs with club programs and help ensure they are Doing the Most Good in their community.

That lens will also come in handy for the rows and rows of people waiting to bid on items in the live auction. And what about Boy Scout Troop 995? I rounded up of few of them, but they were all over the gym helping with everything from serving people food to busing tables. It was like herding cats!

 Also, I’m going to need a camera with a high speed sports setting to capture kids bouncing on the inflatables. Fortunately this little boy, left, stayed still for a few seconds so I could photograph him. And, I was able to talk a few people into posing for me. Above right is Janis Fraley, club director and head of the Bouncin BBQ, with her two club alums who visit every year, and left, Kelly Walker with her family and friends and baskets.

Captain Lori Lucas had Marjorie Banks, a club member who participates in water aerobics, help her with check out. The BBQ was a lot of fun. I had a great time, and I think everyone who attended did too, but maybe we can get together soon and talk about that new camera?

Monday, March 4, 2013

Sand Springs club members are hard to CATCH!

“Catch me if you can” could the rally cry in the Sand Springs gym twice a week as members of the Boys & Girls Club participate in “CATCH,” a  unique health and fitness program created by the Tulsa City-County Health Department (TCCHD).  The long version of program name is “Coordinated Approach to Child Health.” The great thing about the program is compared to other physical education programs, the kids hardly know that they’re exercising. It reminds me of putting spinach in brownies:  the kids don’t notice and it’s really good for them!

The purpose of CATCH is to improve healthy lifestyles, reduce obesity, improve school performance and help kids build better decision making skills. CATCH was written and tested by the OU Schusterman Center of Applied Research. They tested things like children’s blood pressure and body mass index before and after CATCH in a sample study before implementing the program.

Club Director Bethany Pousinho (far left in above photo) agrees with the spinach in brownies analogy. “It’s a very good program that allows children to exercise without thinking they’re exercising, as we adults still wish we did,” she said. And in addition to the effective curriculum, it’s free! That’s right, TCCHD provides an instructor, training and even the equipment free of cost. The Sand Springs Boys & Girls Club is in the first phase of the program, when a trainer from TCCHD (Lyle Price, far right) teaches at the club for six months while designated employees (Quinton Kerns, middle) observe. When that’s over, the designated employees teach the club members for six months while the TCCHD trainer observes. CATCH also includes a nutritional component, but you’ll have to stay tuned for that! -Sallie

Saturday, March 2, 2013

We need your old stuff!

Reggie Kelly, one of the
many men helped by the
Family Stores
Did you know that every time you donate your old clothes, furniture and collectibles to The Salvation Army we turn it into life-changing programs?

We offer a 180-day residential program for men that may be in need of assistance successfully re-entering society. Our program is Christian based and provides instruction and activities focusing on learning skills that allow participants to gain insights into their problems.We use a Christian 12 Step recovery program called "Celebrate Recovery!" as curriculum, in addition to the Bible. Residents acquire self-respect, and develop moral and spiritual principles that will enable them to gain purpose and meaning in their lives.  Although the program is not exclusive to men with substance abuse/addiction problems, they do constitute a majority of the residents.To learn how ARC helped a recovering addict click here.
Our warehouse shelves are empty, your donations are needed!

Each ARC offers residential housing, work in our stores and processing donated items, and group and individual therapy, all in a clean, wholesome environment. The physical and spiritual care that program participants receive prepares them to re-enter society and return to gainful employment. Many of those who have been rehabilitated are also reunited with their families.

The only source of funding for this 3.5 million dollar program is through the sale of donated usable items in our Family Stores located at 11523 E. 31st St. Tulsa and 4700 W. Kenosha St. Broken Arrow.

WE DESPERATELY NEED DONATIONS OF USABLE ITEMS, our shelves are bare. These items may be dropped off at our two store locations or at our Processing Center directly behind our Main Center located at 601 N. Main St. Tulsa, Ok. We are also happy to schedule an appointment to pick up items at your home. You can call us at 1-800-SATRUCK. (1-800-728-7825) or by going to you can also see a list of items we are not able to take by selecting “Schedule a Pickup” We thank you for your support.

May God bless you.

Major Tom Overton