ST. GEORGE — The St. George Exchange Club sponsored a special breakfast Thursday at George’s Corner for fifth-grade students from Little Valley Elementary School.
The students had completed the requirements outlined in the “Give Me Liberty” program, which prompts them to learn things like the names of all the U.S. presidents, the 50 states and their respective capital cities, the Gettysburg Address and the Preamble to the Constitution and much more. Their teacher, Donna Reynolds, along with a number of parents also attended.
For a complete list of activities required to receive the Give Me Liberty Award, click here.
According to its mission statement, the Exchange Club helps members develop leadership, networking and organizational skills that contribute to success in business, family and personal endeavors.
More importantly, the Exchange Club provides members with the opportunity to share their time and talents to help others, whether it’s reaching out to an abused child who needs love and affection, organizing a community crime prevention program or wielding rakes in a clean-up project.
The St. George Exchange Club, founded in 1974, is associated with Exchange, a national all-volunteer service organization based in Toledo, Ohio. Its primary focus is child abuse prevention and aims to ignite the spirit of community service across the nation.
Locally, the Exchange Club supports the Children’s Justice Center and sponsors the Southern Utah Performing Arts Festival, where over 5,000 area music and dance students are professionally judged during a four-week event, with the winners receiving scholarship funds to further their music. A “Festival of the Stars” concert highlights the brightest of each genre judged during the festival.
Brian Tenney, a St. George Exchange Club member, said the the club originated the St. George Marathon and ran it for a few years until it became too large for the club to handle and then donated it to the city of St. George. The club now sponsors the Mayor’s Walk in conjunction with the marathon as a fundraiser. It also sponsors the St. George Ironman Kid’s Fun Run as a fundraiser.
Funds the club has raised have gone to help provide playground equipment for local city parks, including more than $125,000 for Thunder Junction at the St. George All Abilities Park and Playground. In addition, Exchange Club funds have gone toward a scoreboard at the recreation center, the pavilion at Bluff Street Park and thousands of dollars worth of trees that the club has planted along the city trail system, among other donations.
The Exchange Club also promotes respect and passion for America. Tenney said that Exchange Club members can be found along parade routes handing out American flags with its sponsored program “Give a Kid a Flag to Wave.”
They also sponsor Freedom Shrines in public buildings and area schools. The shrines are permanent mounts of the club’s collection of 30 of the most important and historic American documents, including the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States and the Gettysburg Address.
These Freedom Shrines, Tenney said, show youth the strength and courage of their forefathers by allowing them to read the immortal words of inspired Americans who so decisively changed the course of history.
For more information on the St. George Exchange Club, go to its Facebook page.
St. George News Editor-in-Chief Joyce Kuzmanic contributed to this report.