YOUTH EMPOWERMENTFaith, Age 17
On February 16, 1997, I was born with Intestinal Artesia. This is a malformation in which there is a narrowing or absence of a portion of the intestine. I was rushed to Children's Hospital for immediate surgery. As the years went by, my parents split up and I lived with my mother. We never stayed in the same house for too long which caused me to attend seven different elementary schools. In my 5th grade year at Columbus Elementary School the police came to pick me up from school to get my mother's attention. She was ordered to make sure I attended school regularly, which never happened. I was removed from my mother's custody and placed with my father. This is when I realized maybe things weren't going right with her. Three of my best friends growing up lived in front of one of the Boys & Girls Clubs. They are the ones who introduced me to the Club family. At this point I was private about my life and the things that I was going through and Mr. Deinnis Bedford still helped me. Through attending the Club I realized how everyone was into basketball, but back then my family didn't really play basketball. One day a girl named Tiara Shirley approached me and asked if I wanted to play basketball for the CYC Comets. Ever since that day basketball has become my passion and has helped me stay clear of trouble. The Boys & Girls Club of Kenosha has opened my eyes to the endless opportunities that I never imagined. All the way from basketball to academics, to showing me the "Faith" that is inside of me.
"My name is Tiara. I’ve been a member of the Boys & Girls Club for 13 years. I’m about to Graduate from Talladega College with a degree in social work. The Boys & Girls Club has been one of the biggest support systems in my life. It doesn’t matter what I’m going through, what kind of help I need, I have always been able to go to the Boys & Girls Club for help.
The opportunities the Club provided for me are too many to count. But there have been a few programs and people that have helped me turn these opportunities into success. One of these is the youth employment program. The employment program let me try a lot of different jobs until I found the right fit at the Madrigrano Center. It gave me job skills that I can use in my everyday life as well as in my future career. Not only that but, working in the Boys & Girls Club actually helped me make connections in the community that have led me down my path to social work.
Because of the job opportunities that were available to me I wasn’t just out here running the streets. The staff at the Boys & Girls Club encouraged me to take the opportunities given to me and use them in a positive way. When you have positive experiences in your life it makes you want to continue to do positive things.
This is why it’s so important that the Kenosha community value the Boys & Girls Club and help the club to do more, to reach out to more kids."
AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAMQuincy, 5th grade
"The Boys and Girls Club means to me the teachers are like a mother to me. I think CLC is a great place for me and a great place for me to learn and have fun."
YOUTH EMPOWERMENTDeareal, Age 16
"The Boys & Girls Club changed my life a lot because I stay out the streets. The staff is good role models. I was getting in a lot of trouble. I didn’t really get into a lot of positive things. It changed my life because I didn’t get in a lot of trouble no more. I treat people with more respect. And I walk away from trouble in the streets. I don’t get in much trouble anymore. I like coming to the club so I stay out of trouble."
AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAMChristine, 5th grade
"The Boys and Girls Club means a lot to me because they help you with your homework. Boys and Girls Club is a lot of fun to me even in the art room for power hour, and sometimes you meet people you don’t know yet, and some people are nicer than you think they are. Sometimes your classroom could be a lot of fun."
YOUTH CENTERKeshawnn, Age 13
"The Boys & Girls Club changed my life by me coming here. If I have no place to go then I come here. The Boys & Girls Club helped me get my grades up and taught me how to play basketball. Now I play basketball like every day. If the club wasn’t opened I would have nowhere to go."
AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAMAlise, 5th grade
"The Boys and Girls Club means to me a lot of things, number one, the teachers are really nice, and helps us with our homework. Plus, I get to hangout with my friends. This is why the Boys and Girls Club means a lot to me."
YOUTH CENTERDiamond, Age 14
" The club has had a big impact on my life. Before I had started coming to the club I used to get into trouble always hanging out with the wrong crowd fighting and just doing things that I know wasn’t right. When I started attending the club on a daily basis, I learned that fighting wasn’t the answer to everything. As I started attending the teen’s groups I found out a lot about myself that I didn’t know before."
YOUTH CENTERWendrick, Age 16
"Boys & Girls Club helps me become a better basketball player, help me stay off the streets, helps me get my grades up becoming a better student and helps me think about college. Helps you become somebody that you wouldn’t expect to be."
AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAMAlex, 5th grade
"The Boys and Girls Club means to me is they taught me how to be good and respectful to other people. Also, it’s fun to attend the Boys and Girls Club and people are friendly."
TEEN CENTERLorrie, Age 18
"The Boys & Girls Club has helped me think twice about what I want to do with my life. Before I used to only worry about passing to the next grade with at least a D and finishing high school. Now I get A’s and B’s. The Boys & Girls Club helped me reach my goal of becoming a better person and make positive decisions in my life. Thanks to the club, I am now in the process of studying to be a CNA. I plan on attending Gateway technical College in the summer to start on my career of becoming a nurse. I am sure it will be hard to fulfill my dream and become a nurse. There are so many big words that I can’t pronounce but I will work hard to ensure that my dreams become a reality. I am proud to be a member of the Boys & Girls Club because it is such a great place for kids to get the help they need, find a career they like, be safe and have fun. The Boys & Girls Club has had a huge impact on my life because now I’m a better person who’s trying to pursue my dreams and make something of my life." Lorrie will be attending Gateway Technical College in the fall to begin working on a nursing career.
AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAMNestor, 4th grade
"The Boys and Girls Club means to me is that I get help with homework. The teacher sometimes helps us with our spelling words and math. They help us learn new things."
YOUTH EMPOWERMENTDeAngelo, Youth Worker and Member
"My life before the club: Before the club I was at home, playing outside with my friends. I first got introduced to the BGC by Dennis & Sam. Ever since then I have been coming every day. The club gave me my first job so now I’m here every day. Drug dealing, carjacking, all that gangster stuff, well that wasn’t me."
TEEN CENTERJamiesse, Age 17
“I have been coming to the Boys & Girls Club since the third grade. Whether I’m going through a tough time in my life or I’m just in need of a place to escape and clear my mind from it all, the Club has always lent a helping hand. The staff at the Boys & Girls Club are the type of people who understand, can relate to situations going on, and think to judge your character last. Being a senior I get much needed help from the Teen Director who helps me with different scholarship opportunities and good colleges to look into. In school today I am an honor student maintaining at least a 3.0 G.P.A. every quarter. I push hard in school to make a better future and life for myself and my family. As an African American young lady I can honestly say the Boys & Girls Club has helped me through this process called life. I am involved in my community with volunteer work and community service. I stay out of trouble, I am heavily involved in extracurricular activities I am an athlete and an accomplished flutist. In the future using all the tools and experiences from both school and the Boys & Girls Club, I will strive to attend college and pursue my dream of becoming a pediatrician.”
Jamiesse has applied to Marquette, Carthage, UW-Milwaukee and Illinois State and hopes to pursue a medical career and become a pediatrician.