"I had to do something. So I changed by being part of the Boys & Girls Club...I have made so much positive life progress over the past couple of years, but sharing something as personal as sexual abuse is scary. Ultimately, I decided if sharing my story can help other people on their journey to healing, then it is well worth facing down my own fears.”
-Daijahnay Canady, 2018 Wisconsin Youth of the Year
As a new student, Daijahnay heard about Boys & Girls Clubs’ after-school program located in the building. She initially didn’t have much interest in joining until the Club hosted an event associated with the international Denim Day movement — a day to raise awareness that a person’s clothing is never an excuse for rape or sexual assault. Participating in this event gave her purpose and marked the beginning of Daijahnay’s journey to regain her voice. Now, after nearly two years at her new school and as a Club member, Daijahnay has raised her GPA by 79 percent since freshman year. She is the captain of her high school’s mock trial team, and is being mentored by Chief Deputy District Attorney Kent Lovern. She joined a community service program through Boys & Girls Clubs and now leads the planning for the Clubs’ Denim Day event.
"The Club saw leadership capabilities in me, and changed the direction of my destiny."
-Tommy Walls, 2010 Wisconsin Youth of the Year
At an early age, Tommy decided that in order to survive, he had to become the leader in his family. Born into dire circumstances in Detroit, surrounded by mental illness, HIV and drug addiction, Walls made it his objective to change his living situation. And he did just that – after meeting Milwaukee family members at a family reunion, he moved to their city with an adult cousin to begin a new life. Club staff changed the course of his life. Tommy now serves as senior director of programs at the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County.
"I started going to the Club when I first moved to Oshkosh, and they welcomed me with open arms and a smile. I had never felt the amount of acceptance that I felt in that moment, in my life. Moving to a new city was scary, but having the Club there as a support system was an amazing thing."
-Nichole Van Hoof, 2018 Oshkosh Youth of the Year
Nichole is a Senior at Oshkosh North High School, after participating in club programs such as Power Hour Homework Help, Career Launch, Professional Workshop, and Money Matters. She now serves as the Keystone Leadership Club vice president, and plans a future career in law enforcement. Nichole wants to serve others, adding, "My biggest goal is becoming a police officer in the near future. I feel my purpose is to help those in need and those in my community and world."
"The local Boys & Girls Club was great for my kids, and essential for my job growth. Because my kids had a safe place to be after school, I was able to get a full time job as a bank teller. They allowed my career to thrive, and helped my children build independence and self-confidence. The club wasn't just a place to hang out; my kids learned useful life skills."
-Heather Kannenberg, Proud Parent of Two Club Kids
"I want to become a nurse because I want to help people, and know that the Club can help me achieve that goal. I plan to attend the Wisconsin Youth in Nursing (WYN) Program at UW Oshkosh this Summer."
-Marco, Future Nurse
Marco has been involved as a Boys & Girls Club member for 6 years, with the past 3 years being involved in our Great Futures Start Here Mentoring Program. Through meeting with his mentor and the different career exploration activities we offer, his career aspiration is to become a Registered Nurse. He also has his classes planned out for the remainder of high school, starting as a freshman. His junior year he is planning to take Medical Terminology and Intro to Health Careers, so that he is eligible to take the CNA course in collaboration with Fox Valley Technical College.
"I found my path through love. So many people have put their time and effort into me, and the club really improved me as a person. After becoming Youth of the Year, I saw how good it felt to be doing so many things that were positive, and it changed my entire outlook on life, on school, on everything."
-Anthony La Point, 2016 Wisconsin Youth of the Year
Anthony became a Boys & Girls Clubs member in 2009 because he wanted to play organized basketball, and the Clubs afforded him that opportunity. He is now a leader at the North Division High School Boys & Girls Club, on his basketball team and in the community. He served as a North Division Special Olympics volunteer, worked in the We Got This community gardening and clean-up program, and was honored with the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drum Major Award by Milwaukee Club Frontiers. Academically, Anthony maintains strong grades while taking advanced placement classes, encouraging his fellow students to be present and participate in their classes. His drive is fueled by his vision of providing better college preparedness for inner-city youth across the country. He plans to study at UW-Oshkosh to eventually become a teacher.
"I'm not afraid to be who I am. I like going to the Club as a place to have fun, and to be who I am after school. I get to be an engineer, an artist, and a coder."
-Isabella "Izzy" Jimenez Seyfer, Boys & Girls Club of Door County Elementary Youth of the Year
"The Club is a place you can go, and the staff isn't just staff, they are like a family. They will treat you like an adult, and give you responsibilities to uphold...The club is a really great place to be, you get to have a lot of fun, there are opportunities to do multiple things, it's not just one activity all day."
-Bryce LeGrave, 2017 Boys & Girls Club of Door County Teen Youth of the Year