There is no question we need you. We need volunteers year round. Our Summer Programming began this week and we need more volunteers to assist here at the Clubs.
Summer is busy and it can be hard to fit additional commitments into your schedule. We know there are lots of volunteer opportunities out there. That's why we want you to know that there are great benefits to volunteering at the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Western Reserve. Whether you are looking to build your skills and resume, develop a career network, enhance your education, create positive change in the lives of others, or feel more connected to your community-volunteering at BGCWR can be a rewarding and life-changing experience.
We also have several internship options available to meet your academic needs and interests. A focus on Operations and Program Development gives interns an understanding of how BGCWR conducts programs and the impact they have on our youth. A focus on Development allows interns to learn about Fundraising, Marketing, and Volunteer Services. We also offer a blended option that can be tailored to an intern's focus.
Amanda Spaulding, 22, and Brandon Miller, 28, both graduating Seniors from Kent State University, recently completed their internships with us. With guidance and direction from our staff, Amanda spent 300 hours primarily working closely with our youth. With a genuine desire to help kids, her plans after graduation are to obtain a Masters degree in either social work or special education. While he also got to spend time with our members, Brandon experienced a more blended option and worked 200 hours closely with our staff to learn more about special events and operations. His goals were to learn the ins and outs of a non-profit organization with plans to one day run his own organization. We recently spoke with them to learn how volunteering impacted their lives.
When asked what they enjoyed most about their experience at the Boys & Girls Clubs, Amanda told us, "Not only did I enjoy working with the kids, but I really enjoyed working with the BGCWR staff...The staff made me feel so comfortable and we had a lot of laughs. I would consider them family!" Brandon agreed: "The work environment is filled with compassionate staff that made this experience much greater, displaying the character that human service professionals should show towards one another. Another aspect that I enjoyed was the challenging environment. Everybody was working towards the standard that Boys and Girls Clubs represent, and looking to improve on things wherever possible."
Did anything surprise our interns about their experience? Both of our interns expressed that they were taken aback by all the work that goes into running a Boys & Girls Club. Brandon "could not believe at first the amount of planning that was put into orchestrating every single detail involved in an event to make it as great as possible." Similarly, Amanda "never realized how much went on behind the scenes! So much work goes into the Club."
What was the most difficult experience our interns encountered? According to both of them, working at our teen center was a challenge for them. “There was a week where I had to help out at the teen center, and that was very difficult for me, said Amanda. “I was so used to working with young children that working with teenagers was out of my comfort zone. I’m so glad I did it though because it taught me a lot.” According to Brandon, “All the teens there are great and filled with lots of potential, yet at the same time they are at times too smart for their own good when testing the boundaries that are set in place for their benefit.”
Did they learn anything during their internships that will impact their future? Brandon told us, “What I learned during my internship is that I greatly desire and enjoy working for an organization that works hard to maintain a standard of excellence. In all aspects of its programming and events Boys and Girls Clubs strive for perfection so that the kids can reap the benefits from all the people, programs & events at Boys and Girls Clubs.” Amanda added, “The whole experience of working at the Club has impacted my life! I made new friends and created wonderful relationships with the staff and children. This internship really put things into perspective for me.”
Would our interns recommend others take the opportunity to intern at the Boys & Girls Clubs? Amanda said, “Yes, because you won’t regret it! The Boys & Girls Club allows you to form relationships with these children and work with an amazing staff! It offers so many opportunities for growth. You not only develop one-on-one relationships with the children, but you can work behind the scenes too. You get to communicate with the families and get involved with events. You will look forward to interning each day just as I did!” Brandon agrees, “I would recommend others take the opportunity to intern at Boys and Girls Clubs, because I have seen the research from various after-school organizations and I can confidently say that Boys and Girls Clubs are the best, organized, well-rounded option for the youth right now.”