My name is Javier, and I want to share with you why the Club is so important for me and other young people in my community in the Bronx.

I have been a member at the Columbus Clubhouse since I was 6 years old and now, as a 14 year old young man, I understand why my mom chose to have my brother and me go to the Clubhouse every day after school. As a freshman in high school, I see my classmates and friends who aren’t members of Madison Square Boys & Girls Club making all kinds of bad and sometimes dangerous decisions. I know that I don’t want to be like that and I am thankful to have a safe and fun place to go every day. During the past eight years, and specifically when I am with my Passport to Manhood group, I have learned what behaving like a man truly means: being respectful, keeping my hygiene on point, having manners, acting like a gentleman in public and voicing my opinions in a courteous way. I also try to bring my friends from school and my neighborhood to the Clubhouse with me after school. I always tell them that it will help them stay focused and out of trouble!

Watch below for a day in Javier and our other members' shoes:

Not only has being a member taught me how to be a young man, but it has also shown me that college is possible if I stay focused in school. The staff always tells us that we can do anything we put our mind to if we work hard enough and take advantage of all the amazing opportunities we have at Madison. Last year, the Club took a trip to a professional office, when we met with the marketing team I knew right then and there that I wanted to work in marketing some day! I know that I need to keep working hard in school, stay out of trouble, and be a gentleman to make sure that I get into college and become a marketing genius. Other kids in my neighborhood don’t get these opportunities like visiting a major corporation and because of that they don’t know that it’s possible to do anything if you work hard! I am so thankful to the Club for teaching me all of these important things!

There are thousands of young women and men like me in the Bronx and in Brooklyn who need Madison Square Boys & Girls Club to become empowered, respectful, and productive citizens. The Club has taught me so much in the years I’ve been a member and I know that the Club can help so many others too!

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