Boys and Girls Club: Impact

Patrick is in the 8th grade, living at home with his mother, who values having a safe place for her son to go after school.  Patrick was not so thrilled about her decision to send him there and made sure everyone knew it.  A month into coming to the Club, Patrick had a meltdown during an exercise and was sent to the office.  After many words by him, and supportive affirmations from Club members, Patrick slumped his shoulders and cried.  He admitted he was not only having a bad day, but a bad month as well.

While he didn’t want to talk directly about what was bothering him, he did make a pact to respect his leaders and be as polite as possible, even on those bad days.  The office was offered to him as a place he could go to when he needed a break or was not emotionally prepared to be in group settings.

Since then, Patrick has utilized this plan.  There are days when he stays in his group and others where he works on homework in the office.  He follows the club rules and even smiles when arriving at the club.

The Boys and Girls Club offers so many success-ensuring programs and activities but sometimes the one thing a member needs is space to let their guard down and be vulnerable without judgement.

*names and details have been changed to protect the identities of those involved

CASA: A Life Affected

Sara is a youth being served by CASA. She and her brother are currently living in foster care.  One day Sara expressed to her CASA Volunteer, Donna, that she always wanted to learn to play the guitar.  Donna has kept this desire in mind and knew that Sara dreamed of having her own guitar.  During this holiday season, Donna helped to make Sara’s dream come true through CASA’s annual holiday gift tag program.  Sara was literally in tears when she received her own guitar with promised of guitar lessons too!  Donna continues to be Sara’s advocate.  She is her voice, attends every hearing to support Sara, and she and her brother are on their way to being adopted by a loving family.  This is just one example of a life positively affected by CASA.

*names changed to ensure confidentiality

Happy Match Story: Big Brothers Big Sisters

Big Brother Mark and Little Brother Emmett

Emmett who is now 12, was raised by his grandmother. Missing his mother and father,  he became increasingly quiet, and at school he showed frustration by making bad choices and having sudden outbursts. His grandmother hoped a positive male role model might help him with feeling so angry and sad.

Big Brother Mark told Emmett that it was okay to feel sad, that it was normal and if he wanted to talk about it Mark was there to listen. Mark understood loss and hoped, with time, that Emmett could find the joy in things again.

Mark started by doing projects with Emmett to empower him and build his confidence. Together they talked about building a fence, what tools to use and how to use them. The fence took time, like the relationship, it went up one board at a time. The accomplishment was day-by-day visibly noticeable. As the fence grew, so did Emmett’s self-esteem.  He started to look forward to his outings with Mark. His interest and joy started to spill over into other areas of his life; his behavior at school improved and he started to show interest in science and other subjects. He earned an Achievement Award for “most improved student.”

Emmett’s grandmother says, “I was really worried about Emmett and his future at this time last year, but with the faith and time that Mark has given him, Emmett started to believe in himself again and even though his parents had made wrong choices, he didn’t have to.”

*Names and identifying details have been changed to protect the identity of both the child and volunteer