BRATTLEBORO BOYS & GIRLS CLUB
THE ROAD NOT TAKEN
Kenny is a sophomore at Brattleboro Union High School and has been a member of the Boys & Girls Club of Brattleboro for the past five years. He is the oldest of four children, from three different fathers. Kenny grew up thinking the father of two of his brothers was his biological father, although through an ugly divorce, Kenny found out who his real father was at age 12. He also got involved in drug use at a young age which he struggled with to overcome.
“The whole drug thing started as an experiment, but before long we started doing it everyday. When Ricky found out, he sat us all down to talk about it. He not only educated us about the consequences of getting caught, but also the long term affects of drugs. He gave us opportunities, like Keystone, that we could be involved with as long as we stay clean. Now if I go back to using drugs, I have so much to lose, which has really helped me stay away from it.” - Kenny
Kenny comes from a low income family and never thought going to college was an option before coming to the Boys & Girls Club. Although through the support and guidance of the Club staff, Kenny now has high goals for himself and his future.
“Ricky told me that just because my family doesn’t make a lot of money, I don’t have to rule out college. Through Ricky’s support and the help of the Club, I realized that I want to be a child psychologist. Beth gave me a job this summer at the Westgate unit, and I realized how much I like working with kids. I like being a role model and someone that kids can look up to and come to with their problems.” - Kenny
Kenny is now a member of Keystone leadership program, a junior staff at the Boys & Girls Club, and a 2009 nominee for Youth of the Year. Kenny attributes his success to the Boys & Girls Club and the significant role it has played in his life.
“The Club is a big part of my life. I come here everyday after school. I really don’t know where I’d be without it. As far as the drugs go, I probably would have never stopped. I probably wouldn’t be passing all of my classes now. It keeps me on track, so without the Club I would probably be somewhere off track.” - Kenny
MY SECOND HOME
Abigail is a senior at Brattleboro Union High School and has been a member at the Boys & Girls Club of Brattleboro for the past three years. She lives with her single mother and her younger brother. Her biological father has been in and out of jail for years, and Abigail no longer has any contact with him. She had been suspected to have clinical depression by the school system and struggled to be motivated towards her future. During her junior year of high school, Abigail dropped out of school. She expresses the important role that the Club has played in her life and how it has helped her stay on track.
“When I was in middle school my dad got kicked out of the house, and then we moved to Brattleboro. When my mom heard about the Club, my brother and I started coming here. The people at the Club helped me get through my dad leaving. The beginning of 11th grade was probably my hardest year. I felt really down and didn’t feel like I could do anything anymore. I stopped going to school, then I felt crappy for doing that because I knew it was stupid. My dad did that and he kept switching jobs, so I didn’t want to do that.” - Abigail
Through her involvement with the Club, Abigail has participated in the Club’s numerous sports and activities, she became a member of the Keystone Leadership development club, and she even got hired as a junior staff. With the support of the Club’s staff, Abigail is now enrolled back in school and is scheduled to graduate on time. She is also taking an Introduction to College course at CCV and is planning for a bright future.
“If I didn’t have the Club in my life I don’t think I would have gone back to school and I probably would have dropped out earlier. I wouldn’t have gotten any of the work experience that I have now. I wouldn’t know as much about college or what I can do after high school or during high school. We go visit colleges with Ricky and learn about college life. It gets you ready for college and it’s helped me a lot. Through my work experience at the Club, I know that I want to work with kids in the future...maybe teaching, like an art or music teacher.” - Abigail
The Club has helped Abigail build life skills, develop goals, and has provided her with a positive environment with lots of support from the staff.
“I call the Club my second home. If I’m not at home I usually here. Being at the Club helps me keep my spirit up and keeps me having a positive attitude. So whenever I was feeling down because of drama I would come to the club and instead of wallowing in my misery I would be spirited up and motivated to do something.” - Abigail
OH THE THINGS I'LL DO AND THE PLACES I'LL GO!
Charles is in middle school and has been a member of the Boys & Girls Club of Brattleboro for the past year and a half. Charles is faced with the social stigma of having two mothers, both of whom work full time. The Club has always been a safe place for Charles to go when both of his mothers are working and a positive environment for him to get support and participate in some of the many activities that the Club has to offer.
“My moms work a lot, so when my moms are working I come to the club because it’s a fun safe place to be. The staff members and everybody around you makes you feel safe and comfortable. Some of the staff I’ve gotten to know really well. The staff are like my parents, I feel comfortable talking to them about anything.” - Charles
Charles has fully engaged in many activities at the Club. Though his experience at the Club he has developed more self confidence and has also learned key life skills and grown his artistic abilities.
“The Club has made me more confident with my friends and I’m confident about myself because of the way people treat me. At the Club I’ve been involved with Torch club, I was on the basketball team, I did weight training, guitar lessons, and I learned how to skateboard. Before coming to the Club I didn’t know how to do a lot of the things I know how to do now. One of the staff taught me how to play the guitar and inspired me to do that.” - Charles
Charles’s involvement with the Club has also given him opportunities to be part of the Torch leadership program and to be active in the Brattleboro community.
“Through the Torch club I learned that helping your community is actually really fun and rewarding. I feel more connected to my community now. I don’t know what would happen to me if I didn’t have the club in my life, I wouldn’t know half the people that I know now. Without the Club I wouldn’t have anywhere to go when my moms are at work. It’s definitely changed my life.” - Charles
BRIGHT HORIZONS FOR JON
Jon is a sophomore at Brattleboro Union High School and has been a member of the Boys & Girls Club of Brattleboro for the past 4 years. He is the 2nd of four boys, one of which suffers from a learning disability. Jon comes from a working class family that has faced significant financial struggles over the years. Recently Jon got involved with a troublesome group of kids, but was able to stay on the right path with the support of the Boys & Girls Club of Brattleboro.
“The Club has made me think better about myself, try new things, and not be afraid to speak my mind. All of the staff members are really there when you need them. They are my role models, people that I look up to. Whenever I would be making bad choices, the staff would talk to me and give me meaningful advice. When I was hanging out with people that I shouldn’t have, the staff helped me move away from that and make better decisions in my life. The pro grams at the Club have taught me about the dangers of drugs and STD’s. One time a friend and I were thinking about trying some drugs. I came to the Club to talk to Ricky about it and he told me all the dangers about what I was going to do and I why I shouldn’t, so I didn’t.” - Jon
Jon is an active and lively member of the Club and is involved in many of the programs that the Club offers, such as the Keystone Leadership Program which Jon was elected President of this year. Through the College & Careers educational program, Jake is energized about his future and is planning on being the first member of his family to go to college.
“Experiences at the Club have made me decide what I want to do with my life, like art and music. Now I have goals and would like to succeed. It’s helped me learn about college and school and why it’s important to do well. It’s made me want to become and art teacher. If I didn’t have the Club in my life I wouldn’t have gotten the guidance that I needed when I needed it. The club is pretty much where I grew up, so it’s formed me into someone that I wouldn’t have been if I wasn’t coming here.” - Jon
BUILDING A BRIGHT FUTURE
Maria is a freshman at Brattleboro Union High School and has been a member of the Boys & Girls Club of Brattleboro for the past year. She lives alone with her mother after her parents divorced several years ago. Her mother has had alcohol abuse issues in the past and is often emotionally abusive towards Maria. Recently Maria has become a very active member of the Club, getting involved in the Keystone leadership program, building her confidence and self esteem, and getting motivated towards a bright future.
“The Club is significant in my life because it gets me involved in things that I wouldn’t normally get involved with, like doing positive things. Before I started coming to the Club I was really stressed out because of school, but here people help me with my schoolwork. I can talk to any of the staff members about anything. The staff members at the Club don’t just treat us like kids; they treat us with a higher level of respect.” -Maria
Through the Clubs many programs, such as Power Hour which gives kids tutoring and academic support, Maria has been able to keep her grades up at school. Through the College & Careers educational program, Maria has also been introduced to the exciting world of college and has begun building plans for her future.
“Early on I knew that I wanted to got to college and coming to the Club helped boost that desire because we do a lot of college trips and exploration. If I wasn’t involved in the Club I would never have had the opportunity to visit a college and get a tour and actually see what it’s like. Being able to see hands on what college is like and talk to the students is a big motivator. I thought I knew what I wanted to do when I grow up, but coming to the Club has opened my mind to so many more possibilities.” - Maria
The Club and its staff have also been instrumental in building Maria’s self-esteem and confidence, supporting her and encouraging her to learn and grow.
“The club has raised my social abilities. I’m way more confident and outgoing. I’m a more accepting person now than a year ago when I first started coming here. The Club is like a family and just being with everybody can lift anyone’s spirit. It’s nice to feel like you are a part of something. I know it sounds cheesy, but without the club I literally don’t know where I would be.” - Maria
NO MORE MR. SHY GUY
Nathan is a senior at Brattleboro Union High School and has been a member of the Boys & Girls Club of Brattleboro for the past three years. He has a twin brother and lives with his single mother, who has struggled with severe depression over the years. Nathan’s father abandoned the family when Nathan was a young child. As a consequence Nathan grew up without having any relationship with his father. The club has helped Nathan become a more confident person through the various opportunities to meet people, make new friends, and get out into the community.
“The Club is fun and it gets me away from my family. I don’t like being at my house and the Club is a place for me to be. I practically live here now. Being involved with the Club gets you out there talking to people. It pushes me to challenge myself and be more outgoing. I now have a lot more friends from coming to the Club and I also know a lot more adults in the community. I’ve gotten more confident in myself. Now when I see people I have the to confidence to actually talk to them.” - Nathan
Through his positive experiences at the Club and the continuous support of the Club staff, Nathan has developed high goals for his future and is planning on being the first person in his family to go to college.
“For a while I didn’t want to go to college, now I want to go to college even if it’s just a community college. Going on college tours and to college fairs with the Club helped me change my mind. Without the Club I wouldn’t know so many people. The Club has helped me be less shy; it’s helped me get out there.” - Nathan
GETTING INTO COLLEGE AND BUILDING A GREAT FUTURE!
Paul is a former Boys & Girls Club of Brattleboro member that joined when he was in middle school back in 2001. Paul’s mother died of cancer when he was 4 years old, leaving him to be raised by his single father who struggled with alcohol and drug abuse, and unemployment. Paul struggled a lot as a child, especially in school. By coming to the Club, Paul was able to change his life.
“The Club is like a second home to me. I grew up on a poor street and I saw people do drugs, my dad has done drugs, and I could’ve gone down that path. When I started coming to the Club I got help with my homework and started doing a lot better in school.” - Paul
Since coming to the Club Paul has excelled in all areas of life, being nominated for Youth of the Year three times, finally winning the regional and state in 2007. He was also involved in the basketball club and was an active member of the Keystone leadership program.
“All the staff represent my role models and people that I look up to. This Club is a second home and they’re like second parents. They set good examples for me. I was part of Keystone and 4C’s. Going to those groups and learning about college and being supported has really helped me. Being involved in activities at the Club gave me the confidence to get involved in activities outside the Club. The College & Career workshop helped me go to college. I applied for over a dozen scholarships. The staff helped me get to college, and without them I wouldn’t be in college right now.” - Paul
Through the direction and support of the Club staff, Paul applied to seven colleges and got accepted to all of them. He is now a senior in college working towards an accounting degree.
“If I never came to the Club I wouldn’t be in school. It helped me get to where I am now. None of my family members ever went to college. I’ll be the first one to go to school and to graduate college. There is no doubt that coming to the Club and the staff changed my life. I wouldn’t be where I am now without the Club.” - Paul
COMING OUT OF HER SHELL
Kristina is a freshman at Brattleboro Union High School and has been a member of the Boys & Girls Club of Brattleboro since 2008. Her mother has struggled with mental health issues and has spent time in and out of treatment. As a result, Kristina has been put in the foster care system. The Club has been a safe haven for Kristina in times of uncertainty and a stable place to get support.
“A lot of the time when I’m fighting with my mom I come to the Club to mellow out and talk to people. The staff are people that I can always come to when I having a hard time and they help me get through it. I love the people here. Last year I was having a rough time, and I came to the Club so that I wouldn’t be alone. When I got here (Ryan) Squires noticed that something was wrong. He actually listened to me and gave me good advice.” - Kristina
Through her involvement with the Club Kristina has become a very active member participating in the many activities that the Club has to offer, contributing to the events in the community put on by the Club throughout the year, and joining the Keystone leadership development program which emphasizes character building and leadership skills.
“I love getting involved with the Clubs events, like when they are in the parades and doing things in the community. Doing things like that with the Club is awesome because we are doing it as a group. Before I came to the Club I basically did nothing all day. I would go to school and come home and then do nothing. Now I come to the Club and I do stuff that I want to do and learn stuff that I’m interested in learning. It’s like a little community inside of a community. I just feel comfortable here.” - Kristina
Kristina believes that the Club has played a significant role in her life and has positively contributed to her development.
“I can’t imagine what I would do without the Club. The Club has helped me come out of my shell; it’s definitely changed me for the better.” - Kristina