On September 18, 2016 Victor spoke to the guests of our 6th annual 100 Mile Dinner to share how Boys and Girls Clubs of Winnipeg has impacted him.
My name is Victor and my story is one of many that was made possible because of you.
The Gilbert Park Boys and Girls Club is placed at the heart of my community, and has played a huge role in my life for many years. While as kids we did not realize it, the Club was a safe haven - a place with structure, stability, food and a caring team of staff. To me, the Club and the staff were there when I needed them the most. I didn’t need to go everyday to feel welcomed. The days that I did go, it felt like I had never left. They always included me and my ideas which made me feel like I made as much of an impact on their life as they had on mine.
As I got older I started to go to Boys Night Out. This is where they caught my interest the most. We were the second group, aka “the big kids.” This meant access to the pool table, workout room, cooking and outings.
Notably the most significant part to my growth was the volunteering that came with it. I found myself enjoying helping others at places like Siloam Mission and Winnipeg Harvest. It wasn’t without reward though; we would always volunteer in order to go on the big outings such as laser tag and sky zone.
I began to develop a positive work ethic at the Club, and it must have shown because they offered me my first job as a paid summer intern at YEA helping communities create and maintain sustainable food gardens. This job created more opportunities to become involved with the Boys and Girls Club. This included volunteering with Power Up, working at CSI - a summer camp aimed at preventing summer learning loss - and joining the Winnipeg Youth Council.
While the Boys and Girls Club was introducing me to new opportunities, they also connected me to some amazing mentors, who help guide myself and my peers through all of our triumphs and struggles. They are there if I ever have any questions or need help, they encourage me to use the best of my abilities and they have all shown confidence and support in me through significant events in my life such as graduating high school and graduating from the Youth Recreation Activity Worker program.
The Youth Recreation Activity Worker Program has made me a more efficient and knowledgeable mentor to the youth I work with every day - a program that I would not have been able to take part in if it wasn’t for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Winnipeg. Soon after I graduated I became a part of the National Youth Council for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada.
Together we are working towards better today for our youth and creating leaders for the future. The Boys and Girls Clubs of Winnipeg have opened many doors for me. They have given me the opportunity to use my skills as a mentor and a leader, towards the youth in my community and our city.
I am proud to have such an important role in making a difference in the lives of those youth, and it couldn’t have been possible without people like you.
So thank you.