I’ve done everything at Boys and Girls – summer camp, after-school program, breakfast program. It’s a huge part of my life. It’s my second home. I hope I had some impact on the kids like the impact I felt when I was here as a kid. I can’t imagine not spending a summer here. Staff here are like my family. When I was a kid, if I wasn’t at home or at school, I was here. There’s no other program like the Boys and Girls Club.
I love my job. It’s a feel-good job. I love the people I work with. They believe in me. The atmosphere here is warm. This is my ‘hood. This club (Dartmouth North) kept me out of trouble. I fell into a different lifestyle and drugs very early in my life. I fell into the cycle. This club is where I want to be. This club is the most stable home I’ve had since I was six. The doors have always been open for me in my darkest time. This is a home for me. For me, remembering being a kid is remembering being here. I help youth by going with them to court, school, or food banks. I help them get counselling. Youth that come to our club struggle with healthy relationships, struggle with identity, with fitting in. I see who needs help in the neighbourhood.
Lara Fawthrop and her two sons are members of our Sackville site. Isaac (at far right) says the Boys and Girls Club is a “great place to go. The leaders make the kids feel safe and at home. They teach you to be kind to people.” Ewan likes the Healthy Me program, where he can cook and make applesauce. Lara says “there are some things your child will learn here that they can’t at school. It’s cool for my son asking to be picked up later because he doesn’t want to leave the club. ‘Mom, can you actually pick me up at 6?’ Boys and Girls is a place where my kids can feel part of the extended community, where they’ve got other people in their back pocket. I think it’s important for my kids to learn from other adults, meet other people, and be raised by ‘the village.
We don’t think there’s a word to describe it. It’s awesome. She’s done nothing but flourish. It’s allowed her to be herself. We were looking for answers and for help, and we found your Youth Engagement Program. Sarah is a leader today. She wouldn’t be where she is without Boys and Girls. They saw her potential when she couldn’t see it herself.” Sarah says “Boys and Girls is really fun. It’s helped me become more of an outgoing person, and have more social experiences. It’s where I’ve made most of my friends.
Devin Deboer, pictured here with our Raise The Grade leader Katherine Zappia, says he wouldn’t have done as well in high school without our Raise The Grade academic support program in Spryfield. “I remember getting up on that stage, getting my diploma. I was really thankful you guys could be there with me. I felt like the Boys and Girls Club was such a big part of my school career.”