Beck is an 8 year old African American boy who currently lives with his Great Aunt. When Beck first came to the Boys & Girls Club, he was withdrawn and rarely engaged with other students in a positive manner. Beck was angry, and often used inappropriate language with his peers and when confronted by staff or others. Beck goes to Dishman McGinnis Elementary and was referred to us by the school's principal, ALC teacher and Family Resource Center Director due to the poor behavior he exhibited in school and the lack of engagement in academics. They also referred Beck to us due to the questionable home life from which he came every day. We provided Beck with a full scholarship to attend the after school program as well as the summer program. We also offered to transport Beck to his home daily after program hours to ensure he was in our care as long as possible and was able to get be a part of our tutoring, mentoring and other social and recreational programming that he could benefit from.
As a result of attending the Boys & Girls Club on a daily basis, Dishman McGinnis reported that Beck's behavior and grades improved. His behavior incident reports also decreased. In the fall of this year, we received a call from Beck's Family Resource Director that there had been an incident and Beck would not be back to the Boys & Girls Club until further notice. The incident was horrific. The Family Resource Director stated that Beck had come to school with visible marks on his face and body. Beck had told the Family Resource Center Director and his teacher that his mother had gotten angry with him and spanked him with a belt the night before. This "spanking" was the worst the school staff had ever seen. There were handprints on his shoulders, sides, and arms. There was a belt buckle mark on- his face and other parts of his body. The police officers were called to the school immediately by social services and his mother was arrested at her work. Beck was brave, and told the same story to everyone confidently because he knew what had happened was wrong.
He knew that at the Boys & Girls Club he had a family and he had a place to come where he could feel safe and not judged.
As a result, we were unable to see Beck for a couple of weeks while the issue of custody was handled by the courts. One day we received a call from his school that his Great Aunt was going to take custody of Beck and care for him. The Great Aunt then came to the Boys & Girls Club and asked if Beck could come back because "he misses it so". We immediately told her that he could return to us and we would transport him home for her in the afternoons after programming was over. We offered her food, clothing and other necessities if she needed it at the time and she was overjoyed with the offer. We were able to obtain clothes, food and the other items she needed through our community contacts and items we already had in our food pantry and clothing closet.
When Beck came back to the club, he was so happy; he immediately ran to his favorite staff members and hugged them. He knew that at the Boys & Girls Club he had a family" and he had a place to come to where he could feel safe and not judged.
We cherish our bond with our children here at the club and take pride in our accomplishments, especially those like Beck. Our mission is clear, our values are clear; we feel we have the greatest job on this earth; we are in the business of hope and opportunity!