Of the many clubs at Amarillo College, one stands out because of its distinctive focus.
Badger Hearts is a service-oriented club with the mission of helping outgoing foster kids.
“They’re doing well, they go to all their classes, they’re kind of the cream of the crop of foster kids,” said Patrick Gill, Badger Hearts vice president. “But they’ve got nobody to help them out.”
The foster kids who are leaving typically are moving either on to college or to a skilled job.
That’s where Badger Hearts comes in. They conduct monthly fund-raisers to help foster kids who are doing well in school.
Many times, students have a support system in place when they start college. But unfortunately, it’s a different story for foster children.
As soon as they turn 18, they are turned loose of the system without the traditional support.
Badger Hearts attempts to ease that shock by giving the kids what they need to start out with.
“When they go onto college, they’ve got microwaves, linens and towels and silverware and plates and things like that,” Gill said.
Last year the group was able to lend a hand to 14 foster kids, providing them each with a $500 Walmart gift card.
Walmart also ate the taxes and gave them an additional 10 percent off, making the money that Badger Hearts gave to the kids go even further.
The Hearts went from being a small club to running about 35 members, which spreads the workload out and makes the club more effective.
Getting involved is easy. The Badger Hearts meet at 1:30 p.m. each Tuesday in the commons area of the fourth floor between the Byrd and Parcells buildings.
For those who are unable to make the Tuesday meetings, Badger Hearts now have weekly meetings at 10 a.m. Fridays in the same location.
The Hearts stay focused on getting everything they can for the foster youth of Amarillo.
Sometimes group members break loose and just have fun at a meeting.
“Usually one meeting a month, we don’t talk about any business or anything. We just get together and we paint,” Gill said.
“We just paint pictures and stuff and just have fun.”