“Every kid says they want to work here, but I really did.”
Now, Hannah Eaton does work for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Elkhart County. She’s a cadet room assistant at the Elkhart Clubhouse, working with the youngest of our members. But her journey to become a team member came after being a member at the Middlebury Club since she was a second grader.
“Before I knew what it was like to work with kids this age, I knew I wanted to be a change maker. I want to be part of the change that makes kids like school,” Eaton said.
She’s going to college to major in education and is currently taking her general education classes at Ivy Tech. Eaton said she tries to use her personal Club experience to help her deal with the young members she now helps lead.
“There’s so much relation to the kids. I see them do something and remember how I did it. Now you can help them have fun like you did. That’s incredible,” she said.
She strives to remember that the kids simply need some time to unwind.
“They’ve been at school all day so we want to give them opportunities to engage on their terms. Making it fun is the key.”
But Eaton said the variety of programs are also important. She’s been amazed at the programs that are offered that she never took advantage of as a kid — and wants to make sure others don’t miss out.
“This Club has so many programs that I didn’t know we could do with kids. I wish I had taken advantage of more when I was a kid. I encourage them to take part in different Club activities. They have a blast.”
Eaton knows that the Club is a great place to meet friends and establish strong friendships.
“I met some of my best friends at Club. I was being encouraged to do better. You meet some of the best people here.”
She wants to be the mentor for kids who need her, just like the mentors she had at Club growing up.
“I loved the art program. Miss Ellen was great. I feel like if she hadn’t been around I’d be a different person,” Eaton said. “I feel like those connections are so important.”
Those connections are what will have the lasting impact on members. She said that makes the hard work she puts in worth it.
“It’s an exhausting job, but at the end of the day, it’s so rewarding to get a hug as they leave and to tell them ‘I’ll be back tomorrow’,” she said. “I’ll go home and my face is red and I’m sweaty and I say, ‘It’s been a good day.'”