Looking back, Cecilia Reyes says joining the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence at age 10 provided her with the skills, confidence, and resources that led to many of the accomplishments of which she is most proud today.
It was there that she learned basketball, a sport she continued to play at Governor's Academy and now Merrimack College. In addition, the club helped her earn scholarships to both the prestigious preparatory school and college, where she is now a junior triple-majoring in business, Spanish, and psychology.
"I've only made it where I am today because of the club's guidance," said Reyes, who lives in Lawrence. "If there's anything I can do to help the club in return, I'm all about it."
One way in which Reyes is giving back is through Club Blue, a newly formed group of area professionals who are committed to raising awareness and funds for the club's critical programs focusing on academic success, healthy lifestyles, and community involvement for more than 4,400 youth members at two locations.
The first Club Blue event, which is open to the public, will take place on Thursday, April 20 with networking from 7:30-8 p.m. and trivia with prizes from 8-10 p.m. at the Claddagh Pub, 399 North Canal St. in Lawrence. Sponsored by Pentucket Bank, admission costs $25 at the door or $20 in advance by registering at https://bgclma.ejoinme.org/trivia.
Club Blue was co-founded at the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence by Andover native William Shaheen, who learned of other chapters at Boys & Girls Clubs nationwide through a colleague. Shaheen, whose family members are longtime club supporters, said he is eager to do his part to help bridge the budget gap between the club's $40 annual membership fee and the actual $850 cost of programming for each child - which includes supper each night.
"Club Blue members come from different backgrounds and professional careers, but we all share tremendous respect for the great work done by the club," said Shaheen, a CPA at Shaheen, Pallone & Associates in North Andover. "Our goal is to help introduce the next generation of donors, volunteers, and hopefully board members so the club can continue to make a difference in kids' lives for many more years to come. I'm excited about this first Club Blue event, and to see what else our group can accomplish."
Club Blue meetings take place monthly with members organizing networking, fundraising, and community service events and engaging in volunteer opportunities such as tutoring youth members, serving supper at the club, assisting with the annual Thanksgiving and Christmas parties, and participating in the annual auction, golf tournament, and walkathon fundraisers. For more information, contact Andrea Nahigian, director of development at the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence, at 978-683-2747, ext. 118 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence provides 350 meals nightly to children in need.