By DL White
The Boys and Girls Club of America has enjoyed a prosperous and healthy 162 year run assisting youth from various walks of life in various communities across the country in grades K – 12 build character and develop leadership skills through structured activities.
Founded by three ladies Mary & Alice Goodwin, along with friend Elizabeth Mannersly, in Hartford, Connecticut in 1860, five years prior to the war between the states (Civil War), the three friends focuses on the assisting young boys (initially develop civility and community awareness.
One hundred and sixty two years later, tens of thousands of youth later, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America continue to assist and empower youth with programs focused on Academic Success, Good Character & Leadership, Healthy lifestyle choices, Work force readiness, Career preparation, good meals, tutoring and sports activities.
“I am a product of this (BGCAZ),” began Thunderbird BGCAZ Director Michael Luck, who shared he was a participant for 12 plus years as a youth, and currently has a six year run as a Director.
“You can say I am home grown. I lived at my BGC growing up. I became who I am today because the leaders and staff took an interest in me and all of the kids at my unit. Today, I want to be that person for the youth that come here.
“We were the East Valley Branch however; we are now the Thunderbird Branch of the Boys & Girls Club in Guadalupe, we can service a few thousand youth every week..”
It was Director Luck, who informed the members of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity/Alpha Theta the undergraduate chapter at Arizona State University about two exceptional youth, brothers who stood out and exemplified the core principles of good citizens, courteous, and cooperative team work.
“When Anthony (Gathers, Alpha Theta Basileus) reached out and asked if there were any youth that stood out and warranted a few “extra Christmas gifts.” Luck did not hesitate in thinking of brothers Jordan Gage & younger brother Eli.
“First and foremost, we have great kids that stop in to our Branch,” noted Luck adding, “However, after giving more consideration to the thought. These two (Jordan & Eli) were the clear choices.
“They are always respectful of staff and their peers. They are always willing to assist Leaders put items away and or assist in activities by taking the lead or allowing others and supporting them. I understand they are the same way at school.
“I know they both have bright futures,” shared Luck of the 11 and 8 year old brothers, who received new pants, shirts, athletic shoes and new books.
“We are honored to present you young men with a few “early gifts” because of your positive cooperative behaviors here and at school,” stated Alpha Theta Basileus (president) Gathers, a student himself finishing up his degree at ASU.
“The challenges of youth and being young, especially for young boys often lead them to act out and do things that gain negative attention,” noted Brent Scott, a graduate advisor to the undergraduate chapter, and engineer.
“We expect big things out of you two,” stated Gathers as Scott and a friend of Omega Reginald Winston a retired USMC member and Judge Pro Tem Reginald Winston nodded in agreement.
DL White currently lives in Phoenix, AZ. He is the author and creative lead for the Sensational letter “S”, a children’s book focused on early reading comprehension and word development. He is also a Adjunct faculty member at Maricopa College, and staff reporter for the Arizona Informant. He is an active member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc, in Phoenix