NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- If you could give a child a safe place to go after school, would you? What about helping kids get better grades and go on to college? Or giving them time to explore new worlds and discover hidden talents?
Wednesday, October 19th, the Boys & Girls Club of New Rochelle held our 1st ever Lights on Afterschool Rally in Feeney Park to reinforce the importance of Afterschool Programs. The rally kicked off with a few words from Mascaro Clubhouse Director, William Iannuzzi, a club alumni and someone who has been impacted by the Boys & Girls Club when he was a kid. Will introduced a 9th grade Mascaro member, Juan Ruiz-Diaz, our Keystone President to talk about the Boys & Girls Club and his experience at the Club.
The Boys & Girls Club were joined at the rally by several distinguished guest speakers including: Assemblywoman Amy R. Paulin, Assemblyman Steve Otis, Symra Brandon from Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins office and the Mayor of New Rochelle Noam Bramson. Each speaker talked about the need for Afterschool programs and all the great work they do.
The Boys & Girls Club also wanted to recognize some of our greatest supporters by handing out two "2016 BGCNR Afterschool Hero Awards", presented by our Executive Director, Lutonya Russell-Humes. The first recipient was a former Director of Operations, Eric Woodlin. Eric came into the club like a tornado and not only expanded how many sites we have but also brought in a large amount of new programming. He also put together a fantastic team of staff that are now working with our kids.
The second recipient of the 2016 BGCNR Afterschool Hero Award is the Junior League of Pelham. For more than 5 years every Friday the Junior League sends 25 grocery bags to the Club and we are able to then pass these bags off to families that need them. With over 50% of kids in New Rochelle eligible to get free/reduced lunch at school, the Junior Leagues invaluable support helps make sure every kid is getting a meal when they go home.
Later on in the evening the 70 members that were participating in the rally got the chance to color their own light bulbs and write when their "Great Futures" started. When the sun went down the members lit the park up with luminaires and candles to show that even when it turns dark outside, the lights are on at the Boys & Girls Club of New Rochelle.