BLE’s Bruin Benevolence Club builds caring young citizens

Bon Lin Elementary’s Bruin Benevolence Club, also known as the BBB Club, is helping young minds build a sense of responsibility and caring. Its members ended the 2016-17 school year with the delivery of baskets to the St. Francis Hospital of Bartlett waiting room, West Clinic waiting room, all Bartlett fire department facilities and the Bartlett Police Departments.

BBB Club founder and current co-sponsor Nelzy Gibson said, “Recipients were thrilled! We pride ourselves in thanking those who can never be thanked enough and assisting those who are in need!”

Children helped to pack up the gifts, and it was primarily adult volunteers who did the deliveries.

The club was also responsible for providing 82 backpacks filled with water, food, blankets, gloves, hats and socks to Calvary Mission in December and donating larger food items to the mission’s food pantry. Backpacks were especially meant for those who had to be turned away due to overcrowding.

“We have seen some of the recipients on the streets with our backpacks,” Gibson said.

She continued, “We also gave donations of personal items to Dorothy Day House, a special home for women and families. They were so grateful!”

The club includes 30 students from Pre-K through 5th grade and has five adult sponsors (four teachers and a parent representative). In addition to Gibson, they include Na’Tasha Clark, Chrissy Eakin, Emilee Escue, Amanda Gosser-Novak and Laura Shores.

The club has one school-wide drive in the fall to raise funds and gather items to support its efforts. Gibson said, “We have virtually 100 faculty support!”

She said the club was designed with Bon Lin’s Mission and Beliefs in mind. The mission is about creating a sense of responsibility and developing productive citizens. School Belief No. 3 states that “Students develop character, responsibility, decision-making skills, and enhanced self-image through positive interactions and relationships with others.”

Gibson founded the club in August 2014. “In a world where children see so much negativity, I believe that if we impact one upcoming generation, we can change the world for the better! The BBB was basically started to positively develop children’s character and extend student learning beyond the classroom. Incorporating compassion in the education process is the link between knowledge and wisdom. We wanted to include students from all age groups because it is never to early to learn to care!”

She added that they learned the importance of taking care of themselves so that they would be able to adequately take care of others. For the 2014-15 school year, that included a boot camp where community volunteers from USA Karate Bartlett and coaches from the Bartlett Recreation Center helped students get healthy minds and bodies. Nutritious snacks were provided by Visuals Science reps. Berry’s Bootcamp was named in honor of BLE Principal Kassandra Berry, who Gibson said wholeheartedly supports the club in its mission.

For the 2015-16 school year, the club provided 38 backpacks, and community “thank-you baskets” were put together and delivered to hospitals and the fire and police departments.

Sponsors have already seen fallout from the club’s generous practices, because they have seen BBB Club members picking up litter in the community on the weekends. It was their own initiative.

Members (with their parents) also keep food available in their cars to hand to the needy on street corners.

CAROLYN BAHM is the editor of The Bartlett Express. Contact her at (901) 433-9138 or via email to