I’m a Club member. But do you know me?

Listen to our Club members tell what it’s like to spend a day at the Club.

Club Stories

Eddie’s Christmas Wish

Eddie, a young Club member, was selected by staff to receive the generosity of a Holiday sponsor as his family needs a little extra help. He was asked by staff to write a letter to Santa. Eddie responded by saying he has a few presents under his tree already – and thought that Santa should help other children. In response, our staff member asked him to write a letter to Santa anyway. Below is Eddie’s letter,

Dear Santa Claus,

It is a pleasure to meet you. I have a favor to ask. This year, um, can you please meet the orphans in Indiana so they can feel extra-special? Thank you so much. I’m counting on you!

Sincerely,
Eddie

League Team Mom

“My son just played on Coach Evan’s basketball team. This volunteer coach had amazing patience with all the children and encouraged them all to do their best all the time. My son loves basketball, but needed just a little help with some fundamentals, and I could tell by the end of the season his confidence had grown immensely as did his skill. He was shooting (and making) baskets and going for rebounds. His dribbling improved as well. I would love to thank Evan and the entire Boys & Girls Clubs of Porter County staff for this opportunity at an affordable price. My son loved it. He had fun, adored his coach, and most importantly learned and improved! We look forward to the Winter Soccer season and hope to have just as wonderful of an experience as Fall Basketball.” – Team Mom

Joy – Duneland Club Member

Joy is a 16 year old sophomore at Chesterton High School. She is at her third school in three years because the charter school she attended in Lake County was closed. She is one of our oldest, and larger, members at our Duneland Club, so she stands out among the crowd. What is most impressive about Joy are her infectious smile, outgoing personality and “big sister” approach while interacting with our younger Club members. Recently, Joy stood by the Club door passing out pumpkin sugar cookies to kids leaving for the day and their parents. As she was doing this, she mentioned to a staff member the sense of belonging and hope that she receives by being part of the Club. Joy’s transition to her new high school has not been the easiest as she is struggling to make friends. Her mom is a single parent that works long hours and their commute from Lake County is a sacrifice for a better education and environment. Her grades are improving because she is receiving support and assistance with her homework from our staff. As a result of our Club, Joy is now talking about going to college to become a forensic investigator, something she said she’d never dreamed about before her time with us.

Vince

Vince – South Haven Club Member

Meet Vince, a Club kid who admits he had to build the courage to walk through the Boys & Girls Clubs doors for the first time. Today, he feels much differently about his Club! “The Club is a stress free place for me. I have no worries here. I just love being at the Club,” he states. Vince struggled with his grades. Now a high school senior, and through the tutoring programs at the Club, he has plans of becoming a teacher and helping kids that are just like him! Thousands of youth have discovered what they love and what they are good at doing at the Boys & Girls Clubs. Vince is just one – his accomplishments include being named 2015 Youth of the Year for the South Haven Club and earning a national Digital Arts Festivals award for his music composition titled “My Life.”

Sanja

Sanja – Portage Club Member

Moving from Macedonia to the United States was not an easy transition for Sanja. An extremely intelligent young lady, the language barrier she faced caused her to be held back in school crushing her confidence and causing her to be shy. Then she was introduced to the Boys & Girls Club! At the Club she was able to be herself. She started talking to staff members feeling more comfortable with the English language, and eventually began making friends at the Club – good friends! Today, Sanja excels academically! She is confident and not only works on her homework at the Club, but fosters her love of art digital arts. The Club has opened a new world for Sanja. Her accomplishments and achievements earned her the title of 2015 Youth of the Year for Boys & Girls Clubs of Porter County.

Eric

Eric – Duneland Club Member

“The Boys & Girls Clubs makes me feel like an individual.” What a powerful statement! Club member and 9th grade student, Eric, is one of eight siblings and sometimes home life can get a little crazy. However, but when he goes to the Club – he is seen as an individual, recognized for his talents and not those of his brothers and sisters. At times, shy and reserved, the Boys & Girls Clubs is helping Eric become a leader and shine as the person he is! Our community depends on the Boys & Girls Clubs and if we can help one kid, one day at a time, that is progress!

Taija - Valparaiso 2

Taija – Valparaiso Club Member

A middle school student living in a household with four brothers and her grandmother can be a bit hectic. That’s why the Club is so important to Taija. It is her “home away from home.” For Taija, the Club is a place where she finds encouragement. Her goal is to become a lawyer – and when she talks to Club staff about this dream, they do nothing but encourage her to reach for the stars. When asked what one thing Taija wants for her Club, she states, “I want to buy a new window for the Club because the Club is a window to opportunity. From this window, you can see a different perspective, a window that opens and never shuts. For me, the Club shows kids that their windows will forever be open!” Last year, Taija was named Youth of the Year for the Valparaiso Club.

Tyler Goodman

Tyler – South Haven Club Member

When Tyler stepped foot into his Boys & Girls Club, a whole new world was opened to him. From the very beginning, he knew it was a place where he belonged and he made a point of attending every day. At the Club, Tyler discovered talents he never knew he had. Younger Club members look up to him, seek his advice, and make him feel like he is helping. The goal of any Boys & Girls Club is to make children feel that they belong, that they are useful, and have the influence to make decisions. Tyler has excelled in offering his leadership to his Club and community. He was named Youth of the Year of his Club for two years, and he plans to live a life of service as he wants to become a police officer when he graduates. The Club has helped him set a life plan with goals that he most definitely can achieve.

Sadie

Sadie – Valparaiso Club Member

When you ask a child what their favorite Club activity is – you will hear a lot of fun answers! When you ask nine-year-old Sadie this same question, her answer is a little different. The Boys & Girls Club is a safe place for Sadie keeping her thoughts happy. In August 2013, she lost her mother to cancer and it has been anything but easy. For Sadie, the Club signifies hope because of compassionate staff members who listen and friends who care. Sadie’s hopes and dreams are to earn a college degree from Notre Dame and become a doctor to help others like her mother.

Lillian

Lillian – South Haven Club Member

Just last year, six year old Lillian came to the South Haven Club and stated, “I can’t read.” Staff member Ms. Andrea replied simply – “Yes you can!” Every day, Ms. Andrea worked with Lillian encouraging her to keep practicing words and to keep trying to read – and every day Ms. Andrea told Lillian that she believed in her. This May, Lillian proudly read her first book, “There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly,” from cover to cover. This is what our Clubs are all about! Believing in children, encouraging them to never give up, and helping them to discover their GREAT Future.

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