John* joined the Boys & Girls Club at his local Charlotte elementary school because his parents were concerned about leaving him at home alone. John and his older sister were “latchkey kids” -- they were used to staying at home by themselves after school until their parents returned from work. But, something had changed of late. John had started making suicidal statements, so his parents knew there was a problem and John needed help.
When John joined the Boys & Girls Club, the staff noticed immediately what a great kid he was. He loved to draw and enjoyed science. He was quiet and introverted, so he didn’t seem to have many friends. As basketball season approached, John surprisingly decided to join other Club members on the team. He made a lot of new friends and had a great time.
“As I was driving the bus back to the school after a game, I remember hearing him singing and laughing with his teammates,” said Boys & Girls Club unit director Cedric Cook. “This just made me aware of his progress. The basketball team and his time at the Club helped him recognize more of his personality and allowed him to enjoy just being a kid.”
John continued to work hard, and he slowly gained confidence. The Club helped him make friends and discover his own potential. John’s family agreed that he had made a 180-degree transformation.
“I feel like the Boys & Girls Club not only helped in a child’s life,” said Cook, “but it saved one!”
*Name changed to protect privacy.