Hannah O. tells us about her Club experience in her own words

The Sunshine Lady Boys & Girls Club is the perfect place for me to go to after school or even if I need a place to hang out when nobody else is around. I have become more confident speaking to others and making new friends. I feel appreciated when sharing my opinions and thoughts on things with others. I have also become more outgoing and able to feel more like a leader from the fantastic skills the Boys & Girls Club has pulled out of me that I never knew I had. Sometimes I have difficulties doing things, but the staff members always push me to do my best and be the strongest person I can be. These awesome staff members have been with me every step of the way, even the huge ones, and that’s saying something because I have been in the Club for almost three years. I hope I can make it to the end of high school with these staff beside me every step of the way. 

One benefit I have gained from my experience is that I can tell people how I feel instead of bottling up all my feelings until I feel overwhelmed with negative feelings. When I kept all my emotions to myself, I felt like I couldn’t tell anyone how I felt, or they might judge me or make fun of how I felt, but now that’s different due to the staff members I’ve met at the Club. I feel that the Boys & Girls Club has changed the way I look at myself. I see myself becoming more assertive, independent, and happier every time I walk into my Boys & Girls Club. I genuinely believe that my Boys & Girls Club has helped me see myself more positively and has helped me find who I am. When I first joined the Boy & Girls Club in seventh grade, I had just moved here and knew no one. I felt alone and like I didn’t belong there even though everyone was warm and kind to each other because I was just the new kid. The first day I walked into my Club, I was afraid to talk to people I didn’t know, but as I became comfortable around them, I realized there was no need to worry about anything because everyone was amiable.

One of the many programs my Club provides for me is Power Hour. The Power Hour program lets Club members do their work peacefully or ask a staff member to help them. I love this program personally because I just moved from middle to high school so, unfortunately, I have a lot of homework! Some great opportunities my Club has offered me to participate in include Be Great Breakfast and Junior and Senior Youth of the Year. I’ve done these events for three years now. I also participated in an enjoyable STEM camp called Summer Accelerator, and I have done many volunteer hours for my Club to help them out. I have learned so much from that work!