Happy Holidays!

I think many of us would find it challenging to recall our very first Thanksgiving dinner. However, for Daniela, a Club member at our Hartley & Ruth Barker Branch, that memory is crystal clear.

She was 13 years old, and the Thanksgiving dinner occurred at her Boys & Girls Club. That day, surrounded by friends and Club mentors, she discovered a love for pumpkin pie. You see the Club is a place where Daniela could have new experiences and be a kid … not constantly thinking about the many challenges she faced in her young life.

When she was just nine years old, Daniela’s father was arrested, and her entire life changed. She went from a four-bedroom home to a one-bedroom apartment. Her mom began working two jobs to provide for Daniela and her four siblings.

Daniela’s journey, however, is not one of despair. On the contrary, it is a tale of resilience and hope. Without her very strong mom and her Club, her story might have unfolded quite differently.

Daniela’s mom, who happens to be her hero, was able to rely on the Club to be a positive refuge—a place where she could find mentorship, guidance, and a sense of belonging. Today, Daniela is a high school sophomore and a candidate for the Youth of the Year title. She is a shining example of determination and ambition. The Club has been her unwavering support, her second family when she needed it most, providing her with the tools and support not to be defined by her circumstances.

And now … Daniela is writing her own story.

Our Clubs are not merely providing immediate help to kids like Daniela; we are illuminating the path toward a brighter future for them. By investing in their personal development, education, and character building, we are shaping successful, productive citizens. And it is these very citizens who will help shape a better tomorrow for everyone.

As we approach this season of giving, we kindly ask you to help us meet a matching challenge presented by Mary Ellen McKee, one of our most generous donors. Every donation made up to $20,000 by the end of the year will be matched, doubling the impact of your gift. Please join Mary Ellen in making a difference in the lives of young people like Daniela.

With your help, we can continue providing the resources, guidance, and opportunities for young minds like Daniela to overcome adversity and reach their full potential. Every contribution makes a meaningful impact on our mission to create a brighter future for our youth.

Please donate today and become a part of Daniela’s success story, as well as countless others like hers.

For the Kids,

Ivan Gilreath
President & CEO