I might not be a parent, but that doesn’t keep me from feeling soooo very proud of our amazing Boys and Girls Clubs kids.
Today’s message to tell you why #BGCMatters is in both written and video form. When we filmed the video of Doug, I was struck by how self-aware and articulate this 16 year old was. Meeting Doug today at 18, you’d never imagine that anyone would label him “high risk”. His reflection that the Club staff never saw him that way is, quite simply, why #BGCmatters. The power of seeing the best in kids…people in fact…is the secret of our success (80 years’ worth, in fact). In true Boys and Girls Clubs style, Doug is now seeing the best in the kids who look up to him. Read below for his story, and click here for his video.
I dare you to not feel proud!
Why does BGC matter to me? I needed this place, the middle child of three kids, raised in a single parent home. I needed this place, going to school with the label of a high risk youth. I found it hard to stay out of trouble. It felt like every week or so I was suspended from class. But that changed when my mother put me in the Boys and Girls Clubs down the street (Kimount).
At the Club, I met lifelong friends and staff that didn’t see me as just a “high risk kid”. They saw the potential of something more. Especially Joel, Kimount’s Club Coordinator. I was such a trouble maker in the Club at the beginning, and I bet if you ask Joel he might say I still am, but even so, he still pushed me into things I never thought were possible. Things like being on the floor hockey team and representing them at the all-star tournament. He even got me to apply for a spot on the National Youth Council of BGC. I got accepted and that was crazy for me, as I never thought I would get in.
At the Club, I learned how to be responsible, and in a way, be a better big brother and role model for the younger kids. When the Raising the Grade program was being implemented at Kimount I was pulled into the office and Joel asked me if I would like to join and with little time to process my mouth shouted yes. It included scholarship money for school, school that is really expensive. I also saw it as an opportunity to find something that I would like to do as a career.
Being a part of the Club gave me something that I wouldn’t have if I opted to live back in Ontario, or just stay home. Without this place I don’t think I would be here and I definitely wouldn’t be writing this letter. But as my tenure ends with the Boys and Girls Clubs I will hold the memories and morals close wherever I go in life.
– Doug, BGC Alumni