As a child, Mary Kate attended the Brandywine Springs Boys & Girls Clubs school site. She has fond memories of field trips to the aquarium, participating in theatre productions and making arts and crafts. “My parents had to drag me out the door each day because I didn’t want to leave” she says. Participating in both before and after care, Mary Kate says the Club had a strong impact on her childhood. The mentors she met and friendships she formed made her realize the impact she could have on others.
In 2014 Mary Kate returned to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware, this time as a part-time youth worker at Linden Hill Elementary. Here she soon realized her passion for working with children and saw the potential for growth within the organization. She was encouraged by the mentors she had once looked up to, who were now her coworkers. Mary Kate saw the impact that she was able to have in the lives of her kids, and the role she could play in turning their days around. “I love being someone that the kids feel comfortable talking to about their lives and their problems” she says.
Now the Site Director for Linden Hill, Mary Kate has watched her Club Kids grow up through the program, much like herself, and go on to do great things. Many stop her to say hello when they see her around town, or are excited to see her when she helps out at other sites. Through the lessons she teaches at her sites and by leading programs like Girls On the Run, Mary Kate says it’s all in an effort to help her Club Kids grow. “It’s about building confidence and being a good friend to each other” she states. One of her favorite memories is a former Club Kid who wrote about her as the person he admired for a school project. “I had spoken to him about some things that were going on in his home and in his life, and it felt good to know I had really helped him” she says.
Mary Kate’s story is not unlike that of other alumni who have grown up at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware. The mentors and programs at our 42 locations across the state have helped to prepare thousands of Club Kids over the past 90 years for great futures. Since 1931, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware has worked diligently to help kids realize their full potential to ensure that they are prepared for what lies ahead. Their stories continue to inspire and motivate others to use the skills they’ve learned at the Club to be great.
Are you an alumnus of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware? Register to share your story and stay up to date on our newly launched Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware Alumni Program!