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  • Writer's pictureBGC Metro Baltimore

BGCMB Board Member Roger Ralph Appreciates The Mentorship of Staff Member Mantriel Reaves

Updated: Jan 27, 2023

In honor of Roger Ralph’s 81st Birthday, we wanted to take this time to show you how he continues to impact us by sharing with you a great day he’ll never forget. (Thanks, Roger.)

BGCMB Board Member Roger Ralph standing next to Club On The Go Staff Member, Mantriel Reaves, at this year's

Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation's Ripken Summer Camp in Aberdeen, Maryland.

Roger Ralph has a ceaseless passion for youth development. He’s a longtime board member of both Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Baltimore and the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation, fostering a close relationship between both organizations. A fixture at many of our events, this August Roger had the chance to wear both of his board member hats when he spent the day with Boys & Girls Club staff and thirteen members from across the region selected to participate in the Ripken Summer Camp in Aberdeen. We had the pleasure of catching up with Roger to hear about the great time he had out at the ballpark with the kids and the ‘It’ factor he witnessed firsthand in one of our Youth Development Coordinators—Mantriel Reaves.

“The Boys & Girls Clubs–throughout the country and in Metropolitan Baltimore–has always had a special relationship with the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation and a number of the projects it does by building high quality, synthetic turf fields in neighborhoods where repair is needed.” Roger, who always wanted to be a double-play-turning shortstop in the majors only to realize that getting good grades was a more suitable career path is also a very cheerful fan of the STEM-curriculum to help elevate their games in the classroom and camping excursions that introduce many of our members to the wonder of nature for the first time. As excited as Roger was to see our members run the bases and learn all the characters skills to make them winners in life, he was even more impressed with the talented Youth Development Professionals he met that day. “The one thing I’ve seen with the Boys & Girls Club–and being a member myself many, many years ago–is that you can throw a stone in a lake and it will create a ripple effect. It’s the same way with having a big impact on people–and that’s what Mantriel Reaves is doing.”

Away From The Game: Here is Roger at BGCMB's Inaugural 2019 Envision Gala at the Walters Art Gallery showing that philanthropy is a family affair alongside his wife Elaine, daughter Kim with her husband Russ.

Roger Ralph has an eye for exceptional skill on the diamond, but that perspective seamlessly translates into seeing the talent and true potential in people away from the game. Always vocal about his appreciation of the great work being done by our entire staff in-Club and in-office, his spotlighting of the mentorship being done by Mantriel Reaves amplifies our collective effort to improve the lives of youth in our region. Mantriel, who started with our mobile Club On The Go program that serves youth in some of the area’s historically-underserved communities, is a native of Greensboro, North Carolina, who made his way to Baltimore after securing a spot on Towson University’s football team as a dual threat linebacker/defensive back in 2018. Mantriel continues to excel in the sport even earning an invite to the 2022 XFL Draft this coming November in Arizona. Mantriel’s commitment to football has clearly not stopped him from giving his all to the members, families and his fellow teammates.

“I started playing baseball for a few years in middle school when I was 13 and I always wanted to get back into the game because I loved playing it,” Mantriel says of his first afternoons on the diamond with excitement in his voice. “So it was a great opportunity to be out here around the fellas who were the same age as me when I was playing baseball because some of them have the same background as myself.”

Before a caring adult offered a teenage Mantriel with guidance he attributes to changing his life, he was a student hampered with failing grades and distracted by the ‘bad’ influences around him. His talent on the football field his senior year of high school was good enough to make Division-I recruiters notice, but the failing grades of the previous three years in the classroom closed the door on that opportunity From that experience, Mantriel took to heart a lesson in accountability and he looks to instill this same lesson during his interactions with teen members, helping them to stay focused and make smart choices in life. Mantriel’s process of helping members develop as individuals first is what helps them to confidently step forward on their path to winning together as a community. This exceptional work recently gained the praise it deserved as he was received the ‘Inspire’ award for ‘encouraging and pushing others’ before of his BGCMB peers at the End of Summer Cookout. Recognition, however, is not deterring Mantriel away from the main goal he seeks to impart on the members under his guidance.

Talking Game: Mantriel Reaves discusses what he had to do remain in top form at the start of the pandemic during Towson University's Virtual Pro Day Interview with TSN's Ben Rosenbaum from 2020. (Image: Towson Sports Network.)

“You have to work as a team, that’s the most important part. Of course, we all feel we can conquer the world by ourselves, but we all know you can’t do that. You have to have a set of skills, you need to know how to work with people. I was telling some of the teens here that if your teammate can’t tell you that you need to improve–or hold you accountable–then that person is not your teammate. They’re not on your side.”

BGCMB’s Members are not defined by the disadvantages they face, but rather by the character and the potential for great things. This narrative is what Mantriel–like every BGCMB professional–reinforces each day through their meaningful interactions with youth.

“He’s a very special guy. He’s giving our members the benefits of his experience and he relates well with the campers,” Roger says glowingly of Mantriel. “Anyone who has a good manner about them knows what a difference people like himself can make. He has the ‘It’ factor when it comes to mentoring. And good for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Baltimore for being a part of this. Hopefully, we’ll be able to send more members to have more great experiences like these in the future.”

Roger Ralph’s appreciation of this lasting form of positive outreach is why we value his constant efforts to broaden the reach and scope of our organization's dynamic mission thriving with our Youth Development Coordinators, Club staff along with BGCMB’s programming and activities. This builds a nurturing, structured environment built on producing the best outcomes for our youth academically, socially and emotionally is what Mantriel Reaves works daily to create–a venture Roger Ralph, like every thankful lifelong Club member, is beyond pleased to see that is resulting in wins on and away from the field of play.

Interested in seeing all the great things our Board Members like our Birthday Boy--Roger Ralph--and Youth Development Coordinators like Mantriel Reaves are doing to keep BGCMB's mission thriving? Click here for all the latest BGCMB news and here to learn how you can donate to the Clubs actively serving our areas in Baltimore and the Eastern Shore.

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