Lawrence Boys and Girls Club


Back To News Page

Alumni Chris Vasquez and Adrian Ayala Appointed as New Staff Members

April 24, 2017

Although it occurred 15 years ago, Chris Vasquez still vividly recalls the nerves he felt as an 8-year-old entering the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence the first time without knowing anyone. Then Adrian Ayala, who is just one year older, came over.

"Adrian asked, ‘Are you new here?' and he gave me a tour of the gym and the games room. From that moment, we hit it off," Vasquez said of Ayala, who calls the club his "second home" after attending daily from ages 6 to 18. "We always said we needed to work together - and we did, part-time at the club after high school. But the fact that now we'll be working together full-time is really cool."

Ayala, 24, joined the club as director of digital arts in February. Vasquez, 23, will begin his new position as assistant athletic director on May 15. Both are lifelong residents of Lawrence.

Vasquez graduated from Central Catholic High School in 2012 and earned his associates degree in psychology from Northern Essex Community College in 2015. This month, he will earn his bachelor's degree in psychology from Worcester State University with a minor in sociology. In his new role at the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence, Vasquez will coach basketball and help run the New Balance Healthy Living Club and in-house sports leagues. He intends to return to school to earn a certificate in life coaching.

Ayala graduated from Lawrence High School in 2012 and attended Middlesex Community College. In his position, he helps youth members gain skills in digital arts including graphic design, video production, music composition, coding, web design, anime, and video game development. Through the club's partnership with The Clubhouse Network, in collaboration with the MIT Media Lab, members share ideas and collaborate on a global level with an international community of creative youth.

"I believe every child has an artistic side," Ayala said. "I enjoy helping them tap into those interests as a new avenue of expression."

While Vasquez said working alongside his childhood friend is "a dream," so, too, is the chance to make a difference in kids' lives just as staff members Steve Kelley, Billy Robertson, and Manny Ayala (Adrian's father) did for him. As a part-time employee overseeing the supper program and various sports, he has already experienced the satisfaction of serving as a big brother figure to youths who excitedly share their report cards and sports results.

"My parents pushed me to do my best, but hearing ‘Hard work pays off' and ‘Do well in school' every day made me work even harder," Vasquez said. "The Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence has given everything to me, and I'm grateful for this chance to give back."


Did You Know?

More than 600 Club members have attended or are attending private high schools on scholarship.