Tianda Hendricks’ Boys & Girls Club Experience Comes Full Circle
What was your first experience with Boys & Girls Clubs?
I was introduced to Boys & Girl Clubs at the age of 10 when I moved to Connecticut from the Virgin Islands. The Club kept me off the streets and I remained a Club kid until I aged out at 18.
Your first job was at the Club. Tell me about that experience.
I worked at the Club from age 14 to 21. My favorite role was as a junior advisor to our Keystone Club, which offers leadership development opportunities through community service. The experience was so positive it made me eager to work.
What was it about the Club that kept you coming back?
Now, as an adult, I can say it was the mentorship. My mom was a single parent and I often felt as a second parent to my siblings. Without me knowing, the Club staff recognized all my responsibilities to me siblings and when I was in the Club, they let me be a kid and gave me kid experiences. The Club also gave me the opportunity to travel; my Club director would go above & beyond. She would buy me outfits if I needed them. The Club also provided food and transportation to us daily. At some point, it became uncool to be at the Club as a teenager, but my Club director never gave up on me; she always gave me reasons to keep coming.
You joined the team at BGCMB in the spring. Why’d you take the job?
It was full circle for me. As a mom, I knew the impact Boys & Girls Clubs had on me. I thought, how could I not give that to my daughter. It was an easy answer. My daughter, nieces, and nephew go to the Club; it’s just a part of our family.
You mentioned your daughter is enrolled at the Club. What has her experience been like?
The Club is bringing her out of her shell and she’s finding genuine friends. As a mom, I was nervous about her beginning to face more young adult concerns, but as a Club Manager, I see firsthand how our SMART Girls program is raising important conversations. She has started asking questions at home that I would have been less comfortable talking about before.
What do you want people to know about Boys & Girls Clubs?
It’s so much more than an after-school program. We teach life skills and we do it from a place of compassion and care.