Baldwin Youth Take Flight

Pat Flinn is readying kids for take-off this Saturday, April 26. A volunteer at the Baldwin Center in Pontiac, Pat and his fellow hobbyists are teaching inner-city youth the basics of model airplanes. With some paper, a few thin strips of balsa wood, and a rubber-band powered propeller, the student-built planes will soon take flight.

Pat started volunteering last year with the youth program’s weekend bike trips. Pat and his wife ride a custom-built two-seat, or tandem, bicycle, which he shares with young, inexperienced riders. “I’ll get on the front and put a kid on the back. Unless someone takes the time to show them and work with them, how will they learn” reflects Pat. It’s that interest in helping youth grow that has brought airplanes to Baldwin.

Through the support of the Exchange Club of Southeastern Michigan, Delta Dart © model airplane kits were provided to the youth last week. Experienced modelers volunteered with Pat to help the youth build their own planes. Baldwin youth program staff member Trevor Johnson explained the benefits. “These are simple kits that virtually any kid can build. It helps the little ones with their motor skills, and it opens up the bigger kids’ minds.”

The youth with the longest air time on Saturday’s flights will win a more complex airplane kit, donated by the Cloudbuster’s Club. That hobbyist group has invited the Baldwin kids to fly their models at their Spring Fling flying contest, which will happen Sunday May 6 at Ultimate Soccer Arena in Pontiac.

“To watch a youngster put the model together and go ‘See, I can do it!’… it makes a tremendous impact on all of us,” said Pat.

To find out how you can volunteer and make a difference in the life of a child or an adult in the Pontiac community, visit Baldwin Center’s website and join the campaign to raise 5,000 hours of service, at

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