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Club alumni use their skills to help our community

ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT

Our alumni prove that our programs are effective, none more so than the three alum listed below. All three are at different stages in their lives, achieving great things, and giving back to the community. 

Tiana Felix (left in photo)

Our 2015 Youth of the Year, Tiana Felix, has been working hard to make her mark in the world. She received the prestigious title of Club Youth of the Year in 2015, and now is a recruit in the newest class of the Worcester Police Department Academy. 

Tiana was a Club kid for 11 years, participating in programs such as job ready (she got her first job at the Club!), SMARTGirls, InDaZone, leadership groups and crisis management services when her family was facing some particularly challenging times. Her future in blue was a bit foreshadowed during her summers as she attended G.A.N.G. camp, hosted by the Worcester Police Department (WPD) at Crompton Park.” “I’m not sure I would be where I am today if it wasn’t for the Club staff and the WPD gang unit who have always supported my goals and have been there for me when I’ve made mistakes.” Tiana received her associates degree and is working towards her bachelor’s from Worcester State University.

“The Boys & Girls Club gave me the foundation I needed to grow as a young woman. I learned to be a team player, how to become a leader, to never forget where you came from, to give back to your community and to become a role model for generations to come.”

Tavian Vassar (center in photo)

Another Youth of the Year, Tavian Vassar, is achieving success all the way in Pennsylvania. Currently a junior at Bucknell University where he is studying biochemistry, Tavian earned his spot after receiving the prestigious Posse scholarship. His love of academics was encouraged early on in his Club career by staff members: "(They) taught me that being smart and wanting to learn was cool, not geeky."

Tavian will be returning to Worcester as a featured speaker at the first Boys Conference, hosted in part by the Boys & Girls Club of Worcester, being held on March 8th and 9th at Worcester State University. He will share his story as a former student in the Worcester Public School system, and speak about what it’s like to be a boy growing up in the city. This is a great opportunity for youth development professionals, teachers, policy makers, law enforcement and community leaders to come together and learn from our kids about their experiences in school and beyond. He will be sharing the stage with seasoned college professors published authors.

Growing up in a single-parent household, Tavian also knows the importance of having mentors, teachers and youth development professionals supporting you. “They showed me that it’s important to get involved in your community. They’d say that if I want to help the world to change, that I need to be part of it, and help make the change," says Tavian.

Mark Holden (right in photo)

2018 Alumni Hall of Fame recipient, Mark Holden, has achieved incredible success since his days as a Club kid. A Worcester Public School graduate, Mark earned his bachelors degree in political science from UMass Amherst and his law degree from Columbus School of Law at the Catholic University of America. He is now working a key political advocate in Washington, fighting for criminal justice reform. After years of hard work and perseverance, Mark, and others who joined the cause, are finally seeing significant movement. He was instrumental in formulating and garnering support for the recent First Step Act, giving former inmates a better chance at achieving success upon release and therefore decreasing the possibility to re-offend. “It was an honor to play a part in passage of the First Step Act. Having worked on criminal justice reform for the past 5 years at the federal level, it was amazing to be at the signing ceremony in the Oval Office. Hopefully, the reforms will make our communities safer and give people who are returning to society a second chance to a lead a productive life,” says Mark.

Publication Date: 
January 18, 2019