Boys and Girls Club is such a relief from the strained nature of college relationships. I live for the unquestioning affection of children who clamber all over me, scream my name from across the room, compliment me in the most extravagant terms, idolize me without knowing much about me, never want me to leave, follow me around, ask me to play with them, watch for my attention, and tell me all about their lives and their hobbies and their friends and their families. When I see their faces every week, I really don’t care about how smart I sound in my paper or whether my friends think I’m cool or if I’m going to get a well-paying job when I’m older or if I’ll ever fall in love or if I’m too fat or anything in my life. I feel only the need to be there for them and pour as much love as I can into the few hours I spend with my precious, lively little people. I hope that I can overshadow some of the complexities of their lives outside of Boys and Girls Club, simply by reciprocating their unconditional love and at least presenting a calm, reliable exterior. Perhaps I am not inwardly calm about economic injustice, sexual abuse, gang or class wars, unrepresentative politics, broken neighborhoods or alienating architecture. Yet over and above all of this, there are places where it is possible to experience and participate in the exchange of love from human to human, child to adult, black to white, rich to poor, Christian to Muslim, citizen to foreigner. I hope that if I ever get involved in law or politics, I can help make these exchanges more prevalent, more easily accessible, and more affecting for the long-term health of communities.
Tala Strauss – Intern for Boys + Girls Club
Service isn’t about the person offering the service but it’s about the people being served. Listening to what the girls have to say has been a very special part of my experience with Girls Inc. I’ve met girls of all backgrounds with varying home environments and it is really amazing the things these girls will share with you. Listening skills are important with our service work in Lynn and in all areas of life.
Alanah Percy - Intern for Girls Inc.
It is small moments during a great conversation that are really special to us. Like when Thomas taught me some Gaelic or when the women help us with learning to knit. We always left Briarcliff better than we came because the members there are so welcoming and friendly.
Lauren Parker – Briarcliff Adult Care Center
I loved it when the kids began to look forward to my coming each week and would run and hug me when I came in and shout my name. The last week I actually got to lead a little bit too, which was scary but fun! Captain Scott and Nora are also wonderful-they are always so gracious and grateful for our coming and I always leave feeling happy and appreciated.
Erin Climpson – Salvation Army Salem
In the Middle School College Bound program, we've done our best to spark the interest of students with projects on their heritages and what they'd like to do in the future. Although we sometimes worried that we still weren't connecting with the students, it was encouraging when one student wrote us a rap about her experiences at the end of the year party:
Is a place for fun
But also to get
Ya homework done.
Is a place with
Mature adults to
That's the place to be
That's the best place yet.
Anna Carlson – College Bound Intern