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Eagle Scout Aids Boys and Girls Clubs

Laurie Gibbons, Eagle Scout Elyas Christley, Steve Smith and children from the Roanoke Boys and Girls Club’s Art Program.

by Carla Bream

Elyas Strickler Christley of the Boy Scouts of America Troop 49 has received their highest rank of Eagle Scout.  Elyas, 17, is the oldest of six children of Laryn and RoxAnne Christley of Roanoke County, where he attends the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  He is dual enrolled at Virginia Western Community College, finishing his high school requirements and starting his Associates degree, all while working part-time at a local Kroger store.

Elyas’s project benefits The Boys and Girls Club of Southwest Virginia.  He decided to focus his Eagle Scout project on “Art Enhancement” for the children who attend the 9th Street club program.  The project focused on how introducing art to children can improve their educational skills and inspire their future career choices.

Elyas’s project included putting together 65 simple drawing kits for the kids to use during their time at the club, as well as constructing a 4×6 display board that was mounted on a designated wall in the club, for the children to display their art creations.  He has also created two art classes that he personally presented to the children.  In addition, he spent time with the children sharing his passion for art, showing them some of his own drawings and creations he has made from wood, Legos and even duct tape.  He assisted the children with their own art creations, as well as drawing for the class.   His emphasis was to impress upon the children how art could improve their lives, as well as offering career opportunities.

He has also set up a 12 month schedule of continuing art programs, each month featuring a professional craftsman, including glass blowing, pottery, hair styling, landscape design, cake decorating and more.  Staying under budget for his project, Elyas decided to donate the remaining funds to the 9th Street Boys and Girls Club for use in future art programs.

Laurie Gibbons, Chief Professional Officer for the Boys and Girls Club of Southwest Virginia commented, “Elyas’s vision and persistence to create an art program benefiting the children in our community who would otherwise not have the opportunity, is to be commended.”  Steve Smith, Director of Operations said, “We are thrilled to see how having the arts more dedicated to our program will change the lives of our members.”

His mother RoxAnne stated, “I congratulate him for setting an example for his younger brothers to also strive to achieve the highest rank of Eagle Scout, just like his father before him.”

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