In 2014, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Cincinnati marks 75 years of service and of nurturing the future leaders of our community. In celebrating our diamond anniversary, we are reaching out to all Boys & Girls Clubs alumni. Share your stories! Which Club did you call home? How did the Clubs change your life? What advice would you give future generations of Club kids? We ask you to connect with us and help us help the kids that need us most.
Growing up, he didn’t care about his future, and no one ever told him he mattered until the day he walked inside the James J. Espy Boys & Girls Club in Lower Price Hill. And six years later, becoming the 2015 Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Cincinnati Youth of the Year.
Sam is just one example of the impact the Boys & Girls Clubs has on the youth of our great city. There are thousands of other kids with my same story and with the help of the Boys & Girls Clubs, he has overcome statistics and adversities and has been given the opportunity to make his future a little brighter. Today, Sam is attending Northern Kentucky University to one day aspiring to be a physical therapist.
"What does the Boys & Girls Clubs mean to me? To me it means MY Future."
To me, the Boys & Girls Clubs’ slogan, “Great Futures Start Here,” is very appropriate. The Boys & Girls Clubs provide a safe place for kids to become who they’re meant to be. The Clubs don’t funnel kids into one area. They give kids the chance to explore their interests, whether it’s dancing, sports or computers.
I always remember the very professional staff. They were able to contain the chaos, but were also very good at bringing out shy kids like me. You were always treated as an individual, and it never felt like a mass gathering.
My brother and I used to take the bus to the Covington, Kentucky Club. The Club was important for providing structure, particularly in the summer, when my brother and I probably had too much time on our hands. From an early age, it was an opportunity to see how an organization worked and to see kids making the right decisions. It taught me the values to figure out the right decisions in life as well.
Coming from an area where so much around me seemed hopeless and bleak, the Boys & Girls Clubs felt like hope. Walking in those doors and up those steps, I felt a weight lifted off my shoulders and a surge of energy that made me feel like my dreams and goals were supported and could be attained.
The idea of playing basketball is what first attracted me to the Club. Once I arrived, there was a group of adults who saw much more in me than I had seen myself. At the Club, I discovered who I was and who I could really become.
My passion for speaking and leading came from the opportunities afforded me by plugging in and getting actively engaged in what the Club had to offer. Life's purpose to develop young people into leaders and to positively impact my community is a derivative of what the Club instilled within me.
Michael Calloway, Sr. was honored in 1993 as the LeBlond Boys & Girls Club Youth of the Year.
Oyler High School senior Robert McMurray became the man of the house at the age of three years old.
He never had a positive male role model in his life until he stepped foot into the James J. Espy Boys & Girls Club in Lower Price Hill. The Club gave Robert the positive influence he needed and he is now graduating high school as an intelligent, respectful, mature young man, as well as the BGCGC 2014 Youth of the Year.
With plans to study Criminal Justice, Robert will attend Northern Kentucky University this fall.