Meet Wilbert, a teen member at our O'Donnell Heights Club.
Wil, what’s your favorite thing about the Club?
"Coming here with my friends. We all live around here, so it gives us a safe place to hang out. I also like the stuff they teach us. For example, they taught us how to write resume. That’s something I’m going to need to know how to do."
Why do you think it’s important to have a Boys & Girls Club in your community?
"To keep kids out of the streets. Some kids follow the wrong lead. When they have somewhere else to go, it keeps them away. There's nothing to do out there."
That’s a powerful statement. Tell me about yourself. What are your dreams and aspirations?
"I want to either be an EMT or go to the NFL."
Those are some great choices. What got you interested in wanting to be an EMT?
"I want to help people."
I heard you’re in a leadership role at the Club, is that true?
"Yes, I’m the president of Keystone [Club]."
Can you explain to me what Keystone is?
"Keystone is when the kids have control over Club plans on certain days. We have a treasurer, vice president, president, etc."
That’s great. How did you get that role?
"I’m a leader. I don’t follow anyone. People see that I’m comfortable being myself."
What does your role as president entail?
"I’m going to start planning teen nights."
How does it make you feel that Club staff trust you to be in this position and plan a whole program?
"It means a lot to me. I’ve been maturing, and I guess they see that. I’ve matured a lot from last year."
What do you think sparked your maturation?
"Honestly, playing football. When I got to high school, I started playing for the team, I didn’t have time to play around. I had to focus. I try to take that mindset with me everywhere. Also, I have a little brother who looks up to me and he might not see it but I can see it. I always try to stay on him about doing the right thing, so I have to be an example."
Do you feel like football adds structure to your life?
"Most definitely. Football gave me something else to do. Between football and Boys & Girls Club, they both give me structure. I have a good relationship with everyone here. I try to come to Boys & Girls Clubs every day after practice."
Tell me about your relationship with the staff?
"My relationship with the staff is great. I appreciate Mr. Will and Mr. Ron because they let me know when I’m doing good. When Mr. Ron found out I was playing football and I earned a starting spot, he gave me a bunch of Under Armour gear. They came to one of my games and everything."
"I appreciate Mr. Will and Mr. Ron because they let me know when I’m doing good. When Mr. Ron found out I was playing football and I earned a starting spot, he gave me a bunch of Under Armour gear. They came to one of my games and everything."
How does positive reinforcement feel?
"It feels good. Sometimes someone can be doing something good and not know they’re doing good because they don’t get acknowledged. Not saying you always have to be acknowledged, but every now and then, it feels good."
Are there any lessons you’ve learned here that you try to apply in your life outside of the Club?
"The main lesson I’ve learned is to stop thinking everything is a game. It’s going to be stuff that you don't think is serious that’s serious."