By Kennedy Dendy | Broadcast Reporter
The Boys and Girls Clubs of Waco was created in 1909 and continues to provide after-school and summer programming for youth in the area. The kids are picked up from school and then brought to the Club, where they receive a meal, homework help and intentional mentorship.
April Rosier began as a volunteer and is now the executive branch director of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Waco. She said mentorship plays an important role within the lives of every child that walks through the door.
“Mentorship is key for these students,” Rosier said. “Many of the kids who come here just don’t have positive role models that they can turn to at home. So that is a big void that we fill here at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Waco.”
The Boys and Girls Clubs of Waco is the one of the oldest clubs in the country and the oldest in Texas. The programs that exist fall within three priority outcomes: academic success, good character and leadership and healthy lifestyles.
Denver sophomore Jacob Messenger has been volunteering at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Waco for a few months and said he plans to continue throughout this college career.
“I really enjoy just being with the kids, helping them with math and reading, which are essential skills to learning all the harder stuff,” Messenger said. “They just kind of play games and have fun, and it is a safe place to be after school.”
Volunteers can help out in various ways, from helping with homework to assisting with sports. Rosier said she is grateful for the strong connection between the Club and Baylor.
“We love our relationship that we have with Baylor,” Rosier said. “Baylor students really make what we do possible by coming out and having those students volunteering, helping out with soccer practice, doing soccer tryouts, basketball, homework help. We really can’t thank Baylor enough.”
For many of the children, Rosier said a smiling face or warm hug makes all the difference in the intentionality and goals that the Club hopes to reach.
“On a personal level, I am so passionate about what I do,” Rosier said. “Every single child that walks through the door, we are able to have the opportunity to positively impact and potentially change their life trajectory. We’re able to provide good mentorship, a positive place they can go where they’re not put in the position to make bad choices, and we’re able to help them. That’s what it is all about.”
To volunteer or to learn more about the Boys and Girls Clubs of Waco, head to the Club’s website.