Our Mission is to inspire and enable all young people to reach their full potential as productive, caring and responsible citizens. Below are some stories we are happy to share of local youth who have been impacted through Club programs and staff!
“Enjoy life while you’re young. Even up to when you’re working.” The Boys & Girls Club of Manhattan does exactly this for former child member and current staff Nathan Shank.
Nathan began as a Boys & Girls Club member in third grade. Nathan describes being scared and hesitant to begin his membership with the Club. He simply said, “I didn’t want to go.” New experiences like these are often scary for children of a young age. His family had just moved to a new town and because of his mother’s work hours, Nathan needed after-school and summer child care. The Boys & Girls Club of Manhattan was the perfect opportunity for the family.
Nathan came in to the Club a bit uncertain about how things would go. As a rowdy young boy, he was a bit of a trouble maker at first. He didn’t always follow the rules and admitted that he “didn’t always make life easy for his teachers.” However, he believes that his time at Boys & Girls Club settled him down a bit, and now he is much more laid back. After he warmed up to the new environment, it became a place for him to have fun and enjoy himself.
Today, Nathan has come full circle. He is now a staff member of the Boys & Girls Club working with third graders- the same age that he began as a member of the Club back in 2006. At first, he was known as the teacher that would “lay down the law.” As he spent more time with the kids and gained the trust that Nathan once gained as a child, he says, “Now the kids love me- they’ll always come up and hug me.”
Nathan is also a student at Barton Community College and plans to one day become a firefighter. In his free time, he enjoys just relaxing, playing with his dog, and going to the gym. As a staff member of the Boys & Girls Club, Nathan has impacted the lives of many children as they have also done for him.
Nathan’s favorite part of his job is that the kids “don’t like to go home. That’s when you know you are doing your job correctly.” The Boys & Girls Club was the outlet that allowed Nathan- a trouble making, rowdy, and difficult child, to become the calm and determined young adult that he is today. “It’s a good place for kids to go to. It’s like their safe place no matter what goes on at home this is where they should go to feel safe.”
Good Character and Citizenship - Summer 2017
“You have to have a good attitude and keep at it, even if you’re frustrated,” says Gemma, a Club member. Gemma and her friends Iris, Caitlyn, and Delaney exemplify good character and citizenship at their Club each day, a cornerstone of Boys & Girls Club programs. In their years of attending afterschool programming, these four have gained the skills needed to become leaders to their peers and younger Club members.
During Club, our youth are able to explore and enjoy new areas of recreational interest, as well as spend time focusing on academics. These young ladies have stepped up to help the “littles,” as the girls call them, with reading, writing, and arithmetic.
“Think about how proud you’ll be afterward, knowing how it’ll help them learn and enjoy Club time,” she continues. These young ladies understand that a collective effort is most beneficial and work together to empower the “littles,” by embracing each of their different styles of learning.
These four have built the confidence, social skills, and leadership skills needed to become great mentors to their younger schoolmates. Through their time at the Club, they have learned to encourage others by simply doing the right thing daily.
Summer 2017 - Healthy Living
One of our Club kids, Michael, was officially diagnosed with ADHD in the last school year. His family wrestled with the best way to support him to ensure his success. His mother, Chelsea, stated that towards the end of the year he was not having successes at home or in school, acting out and constantly on fast forward.
This summer he began attending summer programs with the Club. Mom noticed a difference in her son about two weeks in. She stated that his behaviors basically disappeared and that she had her nice relaxed son back. Chelsea credits the Clubs’ busy and engaging schedule of activities that focused on academics, healthy living, and good character and citizenship. The fact was cemented for her when Michael spent the final two weeks with his grandparents, and his behavior began to return to old habits due to lack of structure. The family has been so pleased with Club programs, Michael is enrolled for the Fall semester and they are all excited about it!