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Testimonials

“On April 4, 1968, I was named the Boy of the Year of the Garfield Boys Club. There was a ceremony at the old Club on Commerce Street, the last such ceremony ever held there. Awards were given for dozens of activities—everything from basketball to basketweaving—and then the last award of the evening, for Boy of the Year. My parents were proud, I was a little embarrassed, as teenagers can be.

But it was also an unsettling night. Earlier that day, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had been assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. We were shocked. The adults, young and old, feared that the assassination was a harbinger of troubled times.

The country, of course made it through the aftermath of Dr. King’s assassination. Since then, we have improved ourselves in many ways. We have met countless new challenges and have still other, unknown challenges to face. The same can be said of me personally, and I firmly believe that my experience with the Garfield Boys & Girls Club helped me learn how to meet challenges, how to help others and how to keep looking forward to improve our lives”. – Kenneth A. Caruso, 1968 Boy of the Year

“It is hard to imagine myself without the Boys & Girls Club because it is such as wonderful part of my life. I can’t even imagine where I would be without this place to meet positive friends. The Club is a wonderful part of my life.” - Jeffery Reyes, 2011 Youth of the Year

“It gives many kids the opportunity to see that they are worth something and that their dreams are important and can become reality.” Jordan Griffin, 2010 Youth of the Year.

Member Stories

Anthony (age 6) has been coming to the club for under a month. When he started coming here he was very shy. We never heard him talk. He would point to things and get his wishes known very, very, quietly. Today Anthony is talking up a storm, has friends and cries when he mother comes to pick him up. He tells her she is too early and she has to leave and come back after the other youth are picked up and he is ready to go. When the bus broke down and he was with a counselor at School #4 after school, Anthony complained to his mom daily that he wanted to be back in the Club.

Chris is always in trouble and in my office, nothing major, little things. He tends to be physical (wrestling, play fighting, etc) and doing things that he knows is not allowed. We have done talks with him and his dad, , time outs, suspension, but nothing was working.

Thursday, when he once more was brought to my room for an infraction I was sad. Told him how disappointed I was. I knew he had all this potential and could accomplish so much but wasn't using it. Told him about youth of the year for the club and how most of them came up through club. How most of the youth gave me heartaches at different times but that I never gave up on them, just like I wouldn't give up on him. Let him know that no matter what he does I am there for him. How I really would rather him come running to me telling me what he accomplished then being sent to me for problems. Tears were in his eyes but I wasn't sure I got through to him.

Later I was passing through the gym he called to me and shouted "watch this" and proceeded to show me his soccer skills. We talked about soccer and his skill in it, even though he does not really like the game. It was nice to see his pride and happiness at being recognized or doing something.

Positive reinforcement is so much better than time outs and takes less time. I will be using this example with my staff and plan to spend some time watching and complimenting him to reinforce our talk.