How long have you been with Boys & Girls Clubs?
"I’ve been with the Movement for ten years, since 2011. When I was 19, I met a leader with Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Cincinnati in Ohio. She was looking for volunteers. I told her I had my own car and wanted to volunteer, and she hired me. I was also working at a nursing home at the time. When I would leave the nursing home, I would go straight to Boys & Girls Club. In 2014, I moved to Maryland and worked for Boys & Girls Clubs of Annapolis. Then in 2015, I started working for Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Baltimore."
What's kept you coming back to Boys & Girls Clubs?
"I had a great foundation when I first started. I had a great team, and that experience encouraged me to want to grow with the organization. I’ve grown as a leader since being here [at BGCMB]. I want to help in any way I can and see results. I remember when Club on the Go first started, we had zero kids. Now we have 65 applications. Being able to visit different neighborhoods in Baltimore and facilitate programming while providing resources is what matters. Also, I enjoy growing leaders. It’s been great to train staff and give them the low down on the organization and its history. The budding leaders that I have worked with are outstanding."
You mentioned Club on the Go. Why are you so passionate about the program?
"I’m passionate about it because we’re in neighborhoods where Boys & Girls Clubs aren’t in the vicinity. A lot of the kids we work with through this program have never experienced Boys & Girls Clubs. We have so much to offer, and I want them to experience it. Since the program has started, we’ve become like family. Club on the Go is still very new in the Movement, so in the course of developing the program we’ve connected with other Boys & Girls Clubs here in Maryland and as far away as Oklahoma."
What would you say is the most important thing when working with youth?
"Being genuine is key. Kids can pick up on it if you’re being phony or not being authentic with them, which will make them not want to come and be around you. Kids are blunt and straight to the point. I try to give them that same level of respect. They see that we care for them, and they know it’s all love."
What’s the biggest takeaway from your journey with Boys & Girls Clubs so far?
"Knowing that while I was teaching the kids, they were teaching me. I planted a seed, and even if I don’t get a chance to see that seed bloom into a flower, I know that the seed was grounded and rooted."