For 15-year-old Ethan, Sammy Escamilla is much more than the Teen Director at the Shopneck Boys & Girls Club in Brighton, Colorado. Today, Ethan describes Sammy as an older brother, a leader, a mentor, and someone who has taught him the power of being a role model for others.
In 2017, Ethan had just moved to Brighton and, living in a single-parent home, needed a place to go after school. It turned out the Club was just down the street in his new neighborhood. Ethan remembered walking through the doors of his Club the first time as a nervous, brash, and sarcastic middle schooler – in his own words, he was “rude.”
Despite his self-described “attitude”, Ethan felt immediately welcomed by Sammy, who he said was calm and caring. Sammy shares that while they initially connected over sports, he also worked with Ethan to get his grades up – and generally stay out of trouble. They also had similar stories; they both lost parents at a young age and the Club provided them both with a second home. Today, Ethan is a kind and articulate leader at home, at school, and at the Club, where he works as junior staff.
Ethan and Sammy’s relationship is powerful because it is part of an ongoing cycle of mentorship at the Shopneck Boys & Girls Club. Sammy became a Club member at 7 years old, found his own mentors, returned as full-time staff, and now is mentoring kids like Ethan.
Sammy says, “I see myself in Ethan. He is following every step I took. I’m taking him under my wing just like I was taken under someone’s wing. I keep him on the right path, and I know in the future he is going to do great things.”