Hope Kenyon has been a member of the Roosevelt Club for five years. The Club helped her through a very difficult time in her life. The staff and fellow members helped bring her out of the shell she had created for herself and showed her how to push through trials in a positive way. Hope is committed to helping others and to volunteering in the Club and community and was recently recognized by the NAACP with the Talia Ewing Youth Service Award. She has been accepted at St. Cloud State University and will start in the fall of 2016, pursuing a criminal justice degree.
Before Dorian Shimabukuro-King found the Boys & Girls Club, he had difficulty making friends and “fitting in.” At the Club, Dorian found a safe place where he could easily make friends, because it was a place where differences were celebrated. Club staff taught him how to positively deal with stressful situations at school, and they helped him build confidence in himself. Dorian has learned from the Club how to set a good example for other Club members by staying positive, active, healthy and drug-free. After Dorian graduates from Sauk Rapids-Rice High School in May of 2016, he plans to attend post-secondary school to enter the field of animation.
Ekram Ayanle has been a member of the Southside Club for 10 years. Throughout her membership, she has participated in many programs including Torch Club, SMART Girls, Keystone and Junior Staff. But Academic Success programs have made the biggest impact on her life. Ekram has spent hundreds and hundreds of hours in the Learning Center doing her homework. She is thankful the Club worked closely with her parents to help her understand the importance of education. Ekram will graduate from Apollo High School in May 2016 and hopes to attend College of St. Benedict in the fall, majoring in English with plans to attend law school after graduation.
James Johnson, Jr. has been a member of the Boys & Girls Club since he was six years old, and it has played a vital role in his personal and academic development. Over the years, James has participated in many of the program offerings, including Goals for Graduation, Money Matters, Power Hour and SMART Moves. These programs prepared him for the world of work, the value of saving and taught him the importance of post-secondary education. He also participated in Torch and Keystone Clubs and provided service to the Club and community. Through these programs, he developed strong relationships with both staff and other members. James will graduate from the Area Learning Center in May 2016 and plans to attend the University of Minnesota to become an anesthesiologist.
Charity Modi says that the place she calls home is truly the Southside Boys & Girls Club, where she has been a member for nearly nine years. The members are like her brothers and sisters, the staff are like aunts and uncles, and the unit director has been a parental figure to her. At the Club, Charity has learned leadership skills, confidence, self-respect and how to help others. The staff at the Club have been her motivators to succeed in school and to make good choices in every aspect of her life. Over the past few years, Charity has developed into a positive role model for other kids as a Hip Hop Moves junior staff teacher and as a community volunteer. She is determined to make her life count as she brings a voice to issues such as child hunger, homelessness and bullying. Upon her graduation from St. Cloud Tech High School in June 2015, she plans to attend Concordia University to pursue a law degree.
Eastside Youth of the Year Bryan Court received the opportunity to come to the United States from Peru with his aunt and uncle five and a half years ago. When he arrived in St. Cloud, he experienced language and culture barriers that made it even more difficult to transition, given that he had to leave most of his family behind. Thankfully, he found the Eastside Boys & Girls Club. When he walked through the doors of the Club, he immediately felt welcome and at home. The staff helped him learn English and begin to excel in school. Bryan is now an A honor roll student and a proud member of the National Honor Society. He is actively involved in the Club and participates in education and career development programs, Torch and Keystone Club and more. He is deeply involved in the community and volunteers with the Northeast Neighborhood Association, Upward Bound and Kids Against Hunger. Bryan has a strong moral compass and is known affectionately by his friends as the “Peruvian Dr. Phil,” because he is always able to give them great advice on how to do “what’s right.” Bryan is a senior at Apollo High School and hopes to attend St. John’s University for a degree in computer engineering.
“Character is like a key. The better it is the more doors you can open.” This is the motto created by Tech High School senior Jerry Akubue. This once self-described “shy kid in the corner” is now a confident young man who is comfortable in his own skin. After suffering a great loss in his family, Jerry and his siblings were introduced to the Southside Boys & Girls Club through a close family friend. With support from the Club and strong self-determination, Jerry broke out of his shell, started interacting with others, and decided to try new activities. Jerry now tries to be what he calls a “yes man.” Saying yes to things presents a wealth of opportunities. Jerry has become involved in career development programs, he’s won public speaking awards through the Tech Speech Team, he dabbles in hip hop dance and performing arts through GREAT Theatre, and volunteers with Habitat for Humanity and Kids Against Hunger. When Jerry graduates in May, he plans to attend MN State University at Mankato to pursue his dream of becoming a physician.