Colts Rookies Have Fun With Club Kids
Colts Rookies Have Fun With Club Kids
Meet Club Kid Andrece
Andrece, age 11, has been a Club kid for six years. In 2015, he was named Middle School Youth of the Year for the LeGore Club. Find out how his Club and the staff changed his behavior and improved his self-esteem.
My favorite thing to do at the Club is FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL®), because I get to build stuff out of Lego® and robot parts. And it’s a good way to help keep my frustration down.
In FLL®, we build robots and compete in competitions with other Clubs and other FLL® teams in Indy. We also write research projects too.
I have been doing FLL® for a year. Before I started, my behavior wasn’t good. I would get mad, cry, throw things and not listen to staff.
Now, my behavior is great. I feel good about myself. It’s been helping with my frustration too. FLL® keeps me calm because I have to earn being able to play. Plus, I help with the young kids in Junior FLL®.
I feel important now that I am part of FLL® because of my team, Heather (the staff member who is over FLL®) and my mom. It gives me confidence and helps me believe in myself. Because of FLL®, I want to be an engineer when I grow up.
FIRST® LEGO® League introduces young people, ages 9 to 14 (grades 4-8), to the fun and excitement of science and technology.
Meet Club Kid Maleek
Maleek, a fourth-grader and an 11-year-old, has been a Club kid since February of 2012. Kids like Maleek regularly get written-off by adults who tend to lose patience when youth have challenging behavior. Maleek was having a hard time with authority when he first began coming to the Club. He was trying to cope with what was going on around him at school and at home. As a pre-teen, he didn’t know how to focus that energy in a more positive, productive way. Maleek felt misunderstood by the adults in his life. And, he struggled to fit in with his peers. His frustrations led to conduct issues.
“I began working with Maleek closely to get a handle on his feelings and emotions to help him find better ways of expressing his frustration,” said Robert Marshall, former Unit Director at our Lilly Boys & Girls Club. “Each day when he arrives at the Club, he and I spend at least 30 minutes talking about how his day is going and ways to redirect any frustration he has. We have a mentoring relationship. Maleek just needed a positive male role model to spend time with and to give him attention on a regular basis.”
Maleek has found several staff members with whom he really likes and enjoys working. Meaningful connections with those staff members have turned him into a learning sponge, soaking up as much as he can from them. Encouragement from adults outside of his family has enabled him to make better decisions and to do well in school; something that Maleek felt he was missing.
When Maleek first came to the Club, his grades also needed improvement. Struggles with his behavior meant Maleek wasn’t getting the most out of his Club experience. Now that he’s learned how to better manage his behavior, he’s able to reap the benefits of Boys & Girls Clubs programs such as the available homework tutoring during PowerHour and participation in Club sports.
Maleek’s behavior and his grades have improved tremendously since he became more involved at the Club. “Maleek’s highest point as a Club kid was when he made the honor roll,” said Robert. “He was so excited and couldn’t wait to get to the Club to show me. I was extremely proud to share that moment with him.”
Maleek’s story isn’t that different from the stories of many of our Club kids. They really do just need to know someone cares in order to become their best.
Find out more about our programs, our Club kids and how you may join us in reaching the youth of Indianapolis at www.BGCINDY.org.
Meet Club Kid Nevaeh
Nevaeh is one of the coolest 9-year-olds you’ll ever meet. She is talkative, opinionated, intelligent and is, in her words, “fantabulous.” You’d never guess that just a year ago, when she first started coming to the Boys & Girls Club, that she was terrified. “When I first came to Club, I was shy,” she said. “I didn’t know anybody.” Now, light years away from that reserved little girl, Nevaeh is a stand-out Club kid and a leader.
Before coming to the Club, Nevaeh had a tough time in reading and spelling. “I’ve seen growth in her confidence over the past few months,” said Nevaeh’s favorite Club staff, Anita. “She works hard on her grades and is now on the same level as her other classmates.” Anita helps kids with their homework and tutors during PowerHour and Indiana Kids—both are hands-on tutoring programs focused on boosting Club kids academically.
Nevaeh is also part of ReadUp—a one-on-one tutoring program for third through fifth graders struggling in reading. “In ReadUp, Ms. Caroline and I read together, so it makes reading fun,” said Nevaeh. “My reading grades have gone up, and I get A’s and B’s.” And, the positive feedback that she gets from adults she looks up to allows Neveah to reach her goals. Recently, she got an award for Indiana Kids as Most Improved.
All that extra confidence is helping Nevaeh outside of the classroom too. Last year, she was the Grinch in the Club’s holiday play. At first, she was shy and spoke quietly during rehearsals. “Then, everyone cheered me on and inspired me to speak louder and have more confidence, and I did,” said Nevaeh.
“Her confidence in herself has improved,” said Anita. “Just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t mean Nevaeh has to. She knows she’s pretty awesome being herself.”
Nevaeh is just one of our amazing kids. From schoolwork and grades, to self-esteem and uncovering hidden talents, Boys & Girls Clubs of Indianapolis is changing the lives of Club kids like Nevaeh forever.
Meet Club Alum Chayzée Smith
Chayzée Smith started attending our Keenan-Stahl Club at age 7. He recalls growing up in a neighborhood full of violence, drugs and poverty-level living. In order to keep from being bullied, Chayzée would leave home very early to head to school and afterschool, he’d rush home to avoid trouble. “I tried to stay after school to play basketball and table tennis, but the violence of the neighborhood always found its way into the afterschool program,” said Chayzée. After seeing his struggles, a teacher told Chayzée’s mother about the Boys & Girls Clubs.
Today, he is grateful that his teacher recommended the Club and feels that, in many ways, the Club saved his life. “The Club allowed me to go everyday without the fear of judgment or feeling like I was in physical danger,” he said.
Over his 11-year time as a Club kid, Chayzée took advantage of everything the program had to offer. From arts and crafts to tutoring, to being a peer counselor, receiving a college scholarship, getting homework help, playing on his first basketball team, and more. “As I got older, I joined the Keystone Club (a community service group for teens at the Clubs),” said Chayzée. “The Club developed my character, gave me a sense of purpose, and motivated me to be great.”
Today, he is helping young people as a counselor for the MSD Pike Township Elementary Schools. “My experience at the Keenan-Stahl Club taught me how to not only be great, but how to care about others along my journey,” said Chayzée. “The Club taught me about who I really was and the great impact that I could have on the world.”
Meet Club Teen Jeffery Hunt, 18
Jeffery, has been a Wheeler-Dowe Club kid for more than 10 years. Now, at age 18, he is the 2015 Indiana State Boys & Girls Clubs Youth of the Year; number 10 in his high school class; and a leader at his Club.
At a very young age, he’s had to run from gang violence and witnessed neighboorhood crimes. For him, the Club is a second home where he knows the staff truly cares.
Jeffery gets help with his homework during PowerHour and has received college scholarships through the Taco Bell Graduate For Más program and Boys & Girls Clubs. He plans to major in computer science and has already been accepted into several universities.
“Overall, I have been blessed with the opportunity to escape my neighborhood and attend the Wheeler-Dowe Club,” said Jeffery. “Through the Club, I have gained the hope of becoming a successful person.”