“I was very shy and not very outgoing,” 15-year-old Nathan recalled. When he joined the Boys & Girls Club at age 6, he didn’t interact much with anyone. He spent his days quietly drawing in the art room. But over time, Nathan started to open up to other Club members. He got to know the staff and discovered how supportive and caring they all were. He started to express himself and try new activities at the Club and before he knew it, he was hooked.

“At the Boys & Girls Club, I broke out of my shell,” he explained. “The Club has given me a lot of confidence. Now, I come here because I want to be here. I love it here.”

Through field trips and cultural arts opportunities the Club provided, Nathan discovered that his creative interests went beyond drawing in the art room. He started learning about photography and video editing. These opportunities helped shape him into a great communicator who uses art to find new ways to express himself.

Help More Kids Like Nathan Find Their Voices

“At the Boys & Girls Club, I broke out of my shell. The Club has given me a lot of confidence. I love it here.”

– Nathan

With Nathan’s newly found confidence and communication skills, he became President of the Keystone Club, a teen leadership program at the Club, so he could make sure the Club remained an inclusive, supportive place for everyone who stepped inside.

“Everyone should want to come to the Club.” Nathan explained. “There are more opportunities than you find at school or at home. It’s so welcoming. You can approach anyone here.”

He worked with other Keystone members to plan activities and organize fundraisers so the Club could offer different types of field trips and opportunities. He wanted to help other Club members discover their passions and emerge as leaders, just like he did. Soon, younger Club members started to look up to Nathan and his peers as role models.

In the future, Nathan is interested in being a film director and taking his artistic calling to the next level. He’s also considering working in the Club so he can help transform lives in the same way that the Club helped him.

“We have to pay attention to what we do at the Club because kids look up to us,” he explained.

Whichever dream he ends up pursuing, Boys & Girls Clubs won’t be any prouder of him than we are right now.