An important part of the Boys & Girls Clubs experience is having adult mentors and role models to help members learn about character and leadership. Brian Burciaga strives to be that influence when working with middle school teens at the Middlebury Club.
He started as a volunteer last fall and decided to join the team after enjoying the time he was spending with the teens.
“I seemed to really enjoy it a lot as a volunteer. It got to the point that I was coming in so frequently that I thought, ‘Why not get paid for doing what I was enjoying?'” he said.
Burciaga is no stranger to Club. He attended at Middlebury for several years when he was younger. Now, he’s getting to influence the next generation of Club members.
“I get satisfaction knowing other people are doing OK. I think there are a lot of kids who need some guidance, and I feel like I can help guide them to a better direction. I enjoy knowing they’re going to be OK,” he said.
Burciaga said he works hard to relate to members in a way they can understand.
“I’m not that much older than them, so I remember going through what they’re going through. I think they trust me, and we can build bonds because I can recognize those struggles,” he said.
He wants to help them understand how to respect others. That includes other members, adults and their parents. Burciaga said that helps create a positive environment at Club and in other aspects of their lives.
“My goal is to calm the space down, but still allow them to be kids. I still want them to express themselves and have fun. I think they can have that fun while being respectful at the same time,” he said.
Burciaga said being respectful also helps members understand the importance of responsibility.
“I want them to take responsibility for things they do. I think it helps teach them about life. I got disciplined as a child, but I can see how those times helped me learn how to manage myself. Respect goes a long way for people,” he said.
While Burciaga is just starting down his professional pathway, he’s enjoying his time at Club while pursuing his education in business marketing. He hopes at the end of each day, he’s helped someone laugh and smile.
“Knowing I turned their bad day into a good one brings me happiness. Even if I didn’t have the best day, they did. That’s a good day for me.”