Introducing the 2020 Boys & Girls Club of Worcester Youth of the Year, Naa Odjidja! Naa will be graduating Burncoat High School in June, is a member of our Club’s In Da Zone dance team, and plans on attending UMASS Amherst in the fall. Congratulations to Naa and all of the YOY finalists for representing the Club with great leadership, integrity and grace!
My Club Experience
These last four years of my life have meant the world to me at the Boys & Girls Club. It's been a wonderful experience, one that isn’t comparable to any another. The lessons I’ve learned, opportunities I’ve gained, as well as the relationships I’ve formed have shaped my life in such an amazing way. My experience of attending the Boys & Girls Club may be similar to others, but in its own way it is unique, an experience that has been catered specifically to me.
The Boys & Girls Club is filled with an abundance of opportunities, every corner you turn, every step you take, and every door you open leads to yet another opportunity that is unparalleled to say the least. During my time at the Club, I’ve been fortunate enough to participate in Job Ready, Driver’s Ed, the InDaZone Dance Team, Keystone, S.M.A.R.T Girls, M.A.P (college tour) program, and last but not least, I’ve been granted the honor of being Youth of the Year.
The Club is where I received my first job, and I’m glad to say that I have been able to obtain a job at my Club every summer that I’ve been a member. I was even able to obtain my permit by attending the Driver’s Ed courses provided by the Club, and their partnership with CMSC. I will have to say though, my involvement with the InDaZone Dance Team has been one of the opportunities that I am most grateful for. This team has cared and nurtured me in a way that I will forever be grateful for.
With the loving and brilliant director, Shauree Allotey, spearheading the team, she personally has taught me so many lessons. From her alone I’ve learned (and in some cases am still working on), how to take initiative in situations, and stand up for what I believe in, how to organize my priorities, making sure I do what needs to be done in a timely fashion, how to read a room, and present myself in a manner that will be effective for what I have to say and offer, as well as allowing others to be comfortable enough to receive and retain the information. All these skills that I’ve attained at my time in the Club have been extremely useful during my time as co-captain on the dance team, as well as my time as a Keystone member; I’ve also been able to share these assets with my fellow Club members.
The relationships that my fellow Club members and I share is unmatched. They have become my sisters and brothers -- essentially my family, as the Club is my second home. Some may even say I spend more time at the Boys & Girls Club than I do at my own house, and while some may see that as an exaggeration, in all honesty, it is quite true. My teammates and I have worked together in countless projects such as leading and organizing dance workshops, arts & craft activities, the annual Daddy-Daughter Dances, and our annual Mommy & Son days. We always know that at the end of the day we will have each other’s back through whatever event we are throwing, or if one of us is having a bad day, we know someone at the Club will be there to push us through.
The Boys & Girls Club has significantly shaped me to be the way I am today. With the endless support from the staff as well as my peers, it has made my Club experience an unforgettable one. All the opportunities I’ve gained while I’ve been at the Club have opened my eyes to much more than I could’ve possibly imagined. Being a senior at the Club has made me appreciate it and everything that it has to offer even more. I know my time at this wonderful establishment is coming to an end as a member, but I know that the Club will always welcome me with open arms as an alum and volunteer, I’m truly grateful for my Boys & Girls Club experience.