Several members of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Elkhart County are embarking on a new phase in their lives. They’ve joined the graduating class of 2023.
Ten Club members are looking toward the future. They are: Chyniah Woods, Marquavious Hill Junior, Satarah Tittle and Mariani Woods from the Elkhart Club; Sydney Hamsher and Eachan Carr from the Nappanee Club; Jazzy Troyer, Parker Cripe and Drew Damer from the Goshen Club; and Makaya Pedroza from the Middlebury Club.
Members say they will remember their time at Club for different reasons.
“My favorite memories are having fun playing basketball and being with the staff, the kids and having fun with my own age group,” Hill said.
Hill and Woods were both selected to perform at the Boys & Girls Clubs of America national convention in Florida. They were among a handful of teens from across the country selected for the honor. Exposure to programs and activities outside the Clubhouse is something Hamsher said made an impact on her.
“My favorite memory from the Club is going to Connecticut for a STEM mentoring trip and winning Youth of the Year,” Hamsher said.
Club programs are designed to inspire and empower young people to reach their full potential. More than 90 percent of Club teens say they’re on track to graduate from high school. Many credit the programs at Club for helping them reach their goals.
“It showed me there are always people in your life to actually help you succeed,” Hill said.
“The Club is a place of learning and leadership. It helped me get out of my shell with my social skills,” Troyer said. “Public speaking was a fear I didn’t think I could overcome, but Youth of the Year helped me conquer that.”
Members also say they developed friendships through Club that have extended beyond the clubhouse.
“Growing up and being at the Boys & Girls Club helped me get out more and make more friends. I wouldn’t have the amazing friends I have today if I didn’t go to Club,” Pedroza said.
“Club helped me see that not everyone came from the same lifestyle, and it made me more grateful for what I had growing up,” Hamsher said.
Congratulations to the graduates in the Class of 2023!