On a recent golf outing, I was struck by the beauty of a flower growing from beneath a large rock sitting on a hard clay surface. Initially, I was surprised by how this flower was able to grow and survive in such a harsh environment. I obviously thought the worst. I thought the flower would surely perish before the summer was over.
However, my golfing friend saw it differently. He saw the shadow from the rock that protected the flower from the hot sun. He knew this particular flower had deep roots and that the hard surface would hold the flower in place during heavy rains and winds. It had a chance to survive!
“Is this how society sees the youth who find themselves squeezed in between hope and despair?” I thought. “Is society quick to think there is no hope for a child?”
Like the flower, our Club kids have a chance to not only survive but thrive.
On May 14, 2019, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas presented its 11th Annual TOPPS Celebration of 110 of our high school seniors who successfully completed the Collegiate STEPS Program. It was a record-setting evening of over 700 guests that contributed to raising more than $234,00 in revenue to support the incoming class of Collegiate STEPs seniors. The generosity of our sponsors was also complemented by the announcement of $565,000 in scholarships distributed to our deserving seniors.
One of the many highlights of the evening captured the emotional response from the mother of one of our members, Dakarion, who received a $110,000 scholarship to the university of his choice. That heartfelt moment reminded me of the challenges Dakarion had to face: losing his older brother to gun violence one year earlier.
Dakarion found himself in a “hard place”. He could either become a victim of the streets himself or aspire to be a productive, caring, and responsible citizen. The Boys & Girls Club gave him the support and security he needed to push through and he now has a chance at a Great Future.
For 55 years, BGCD has provided a safe and productive place for youth and have helped many out of impossible situations. Faced with homelessness, poverty, a lack of an adequate education, violent neighborhoods, food shortages, unstable home environments, and more; BGCD offered a pathway to the 110 graduating seniors at TOPPS last May. They may still have challenges, but they now will be equipped with the knowledge, drive, and desire to aspire to achieve their dreams.
Like the pollen of the flower, our college-bound seniors will soon be in a position to nurture other youth to make good life-choices and aspire to be successful in all they wish to become, even if they find themselves between a rock and a hard place.
-Charles English, BGCD President and CEO