The Best Days Team Member Spotlight: Alumni & Friends
What are some of your best memories? Most people remember their time in school or college with a sense of nostalgia, even referring to them as, “the best days of my life.” Club members have that same nostalgia when it comes to their time at the Boys & Girls Clubs. The Club is more than just a place for kids to hang out after school. The Club is a place where so many of our alumni found a passion for learning, developed a trusting relationship with an adult, discovered a talent for singing, or unearthed their career path. A group of those alumni are giving back this summer as reading coaches in the Club’s Summer Literacy program.
As a part of the Club’s Project Learn program strategy, Summer Literacy is designed to help avoid summer learning loss, provide a fun way to improve reading skills and strategies and improve reading proficiency for struggling non- or emergent readers. Many of the alumni working for the program were a part of Summer Literacy as members not so many years ago.
J’Nya Burton is a 2015 graduate of Berrien Springs High School and is attending Tennessee State University. Kesha Jones graduated from Benton Harbor High School in 2015 and is attending Grand Valley State University. Breana Johnson graduated from Benton Harbor High School in 2015 and is attending Lake Michigan College, right here at home. Willie Wilson is also a 2015 Benton Harbor graduate and is attending Texas Southern University.
In addition to our alumni, long-time volunteer Peter Chen is also taking part as a reading coach. Peter has volunteered at the Club since his freshman year in high school. He recently graduated from St. Joseph High School and will attend the University of Michigan in the fall.
Alongside active and retired teachers and other academic professionals, these young college students are working one-on-one and with small groups of members at the Fettig Youth Campus four days a week this summer to improve letter recognition, how to blend sounds, visualizing words, and comprehension. This is a critical age for emerging readers, and the Summer Literacy program has a 12-year history of improving proficiency.
Not only are these alumni giving back, they are part of shaping the Great Futures of members who are walking in their footsteps.