How often can someone say that they are saving and improving the lives of young people every day? We can, every day. Lisa told me so. She is a bright 17 year-old who now has a job — two in fact — because we helped her understand and complete employment applications. “I tried and tried in the past to get a job, but I wasn’t able to get one. Now I can save for college and help my mom with household expenses.”
It gets even better…life-saving better. David, one of the case workers in our Work Force Development program told me about Jorge this summer, a boy on his team who has no father at home. Jorge was told that his dad left the state to get work, but Jorge knows that his father is in jail. “David, you are like a dad to me now. I can talk to you and trust you,” Jorge confided.
At the Boys & Girls Clubs of Providence, we all know how important our work is. I often ask myself, “What if we weren’t here?” Our staff across our seven Providence locations work continuously to meet the needs of our local youth and their families. Lisa and Jorge depend on us. So do Monique, Kevin, Miranda and Jose. Our programs are not just a distraction to pass the time. They are designed to provide all our city’s youth with a safe place to play, grow, and learn; they encourage our kids to commit to their class work and development. Our educational programs help and focus them. Both fun and academics make for success for our youth. “I joined The Club to play basketball,” Jamison said, “but I come after school whenever I can now because it makes me feel good about myself, and my grades have improved.”
Many of you are an integral part of our success story. Without your financial support, there would be no Clubs here in Providence. Many more of you will want to join us, I am certain, as you read through these pages and learn that there would be no opportunities, without you, for a home base of friendship, studies and discovery to help our young people grow into confident, trusting, healthy, and educated young adults. Boys and Girls Clubs of America believes we drive success and have recognized us as one of two clubs in our region, to reach the gold level for average daily attendance – 50% in the past year.
We rise to the occasion every day to make a difference in our community by saving and improving the lives of our youth. I often hear from families and alum who credit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Providence with helping them become the individuals they are today. This recognition is the highest compliment our organization can receive, and we owe it all to those who selflessly give their time, talents, and resources for the betterment of others. I strongly believe we need to do more, can do more, and must do more. Systemic change in our communities can only happen when kids say “No,” to past life choices, and “Yes,” to integrating better decisions into their lives, in spite of enormous pressures to do otherwise. We are providing the tools they need to make the best choices now, and for their future.
My personal and most sincere thanks to all of our Board of Directors, professional youth development staff, volunteers, partners and financial supporters. Our continued success depends on a strong team of passionate people, just like you, who care deeply about children – and that’s exactly what our Club community represents. Thank you again for everything that you do.
Nicole R. Dufresne