The Boys and Girls Club is more than a place to simply do homework or hang out with friends. Brittany Wheeler joined the Concord chapter four years ago, during her first year of high school. The club fosters a sense of community among the participants of its after-school program. As Wheeler says, it’s a place where kids “can feel safe after school and not get into trouble.”
“When I first started going, I was kind of a trouble maker.” Wheeler had some behavioral issues, and admits that she was frequently rude to the staff. “Slowly I started learning I needed to be a nicer more positive person, and I started to be more confident.”
Over the years the staff, and many of the students, became role models for her, helping her improve her behavior. They would, “would tell me when I was doing something good or when I was doing something bad. I’ve become a better person through everyone at the club. And now I’m one of the role models for the younger kids.”
Confronting behavioral issues is par for the course at the Boys and Girls Club, welcoming students regardless of background or history. “Everyone has their own story,” says Wheeler, “and they all find their spot in the club where they feel they belong. It creates a community feeling where everyone belongs and we’re all equal.”
Wheeler credits the after-school program for her passing grades and improved sense of self. She’s found new purpose in life, “I’m in the Culinary program at my high school and I want to become an alternative baking and pastry artist.” She’s hoping to further her studies at Johnson and Wales University.