Volume No. 18 Issue No. 9 September 2021  

  Falcon Exchange Club — 15 years for the community

     Since 2006, The Falcon Exchange Club has been focused on making a difference in the community.
   The National Exchange club was founded in 1911 in Detroit by Charles A. Berkey. The name comes from the idea to “exchange” ideas and information with like-minded people on how to better serve the community.
   In Falcon, the club has been doing just that with projects addressing child abuse prevention, community support, Americanism and youth recognition.
   The Exchange Club’s national mission is the Child Abuse Prevention program, bringing awareness to child abuse in the community and helping victims of child abuse by sponsoring various events and programs throughout the year.
   The Falcon Exchange Club’s signature program is Angel Tree. Starting around Thanksgiving, members set up Christmas trees throughout businesses in Falcon; the trees are decorated with gift requests for kids.
   “The generosity of the community is just mind blowing,” said Andy Conder, president of the Falcon Exchange Club. “We ask for gift cards for the older kids and gifts for the younger kids, and we’ll get literally several hundred gifts and thousands of dollars worth of gift cards.”
   Many of the kids are in foster care or going through an adoption process, and some are receiving Christmas presents for the first time.
   Americanism is the promotion of patriotism and appreciation for the freedoms everyone has in America. The club promotes this through “Freedom Shrines” that they place in local schools. The “shrines” are important documents in America’s history to help kids learn more about the country.
   The Youth Recognition program is exactly what it sounds like. The Exchange Club recognizes the achievements of students in the community, from high-performing students to students who have struggled personally or those who have overcome disabilities or health issues. Many of those students have managed to push through the tough times and finish high school. The club presents these awards to students so they can compete for scholarships with other students across the state and the country.
   The Community Support program covers the remainder of their projects in Falcon. They help support firefighters, police officers and veterans through various means. The club helps homeless veterans find a place to live, and they provide protection for police officers through body armor that is donated to them from Shield 616.
   The club is about 18 strong right now, but they’re hoping to bring in more members.
   “The COVID lockdowns in the last year-and-a-half pretty much curtailed our activities by quite a bit,” Conder said. The Angel Tree program was all they could do last year.
   If anyone is interested in more information on the club, contact Andy Conder at 719-337-6990 or email him at aconder54@msn.com.
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