Alisha moved to Springfield from Nixa when she was 13 years old. New neighborhood, new school, changes at home, all these things made transition uncomfortable. She learned about “The Club” from some of the kids at her new school and decided to check it out. What her new friends were talking about was Boys & Girls Clubs of Springfield and it would be a place where she found a sense of purpose and belonging for years to come.
During her time as a student at the club, she was part of several programs that helped her adjust to her new surroundings. During Jr. High and High School, Alisha was part of peer to peer mentoring and leadership programs that not only helped her make strong friendships, she gained social skills and learn the value of teamwork. Her connections at the club eventually led her to join the AmeriCorps program and then provided her an opportunity to “give back” by become a staff member. She is currently employed by Boys & Girls Clubs and works at the new Sertoma Unit, the newest club location, connected to Sherwood Elementary school.
“The fact that kids are able to come straight to the club after school and they don’t have to worry about how to get there is awesome” says Alisha. “This removes barriers that some kids faced in the past because they didn’t have transportation.” The collaboration between Springfield Public Schools and Boys & Girls Clubs is just one example of how working collectively helps kids and their families become stronger, healthier members of the community.
To hear Alisha talk about her experience with the kids at the club will bring a smile to your face. “This is not a daycare,” she says, “These programs are high yield learning opportunities that can change kids lives,” and she knows first hand. Things she was able to overcome through her time there as a youth help her now as she works with kids, many who are going through some of the same things she did. Her advice? She tells them, “You can get past this…even though tough things have happened to you.”
People like Alisha are improving kids lives for the better, and YOU make that possible. Programs supported by United Way of the Ozarks are helping kids grow and learn, helping them overcome obstacles, and become amazing members of our community.
About United Way of the Ozarks: United Way of the Ozarks is a locally governed, volunteer-driven organization whose Mission is to improve the lives of people in the Ozarks by uniting the community. United Way of the Ozarks funds over 45 programs and 15 community initiatives that address critical health and human service needs in 14 counties in southwest Missouri.