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Registration Open for BGCL Take Action Walkathon on October 15

September 18, 2017

At age 6, Socrates De La Cruz still had another year before being eligible to join the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence (BGCL), but he wouldn't be deterred. His brother, Otto, had just turned 7, so De La Cruz accompanied him to the club and pretended to be the same age.

"They said, ‘Welcome to the club,' and I thought I was in heaven," recalled De La Cruz, now a resident of Methuen and a principal at DLC Law Group in Lawrence. "Whenever you walked in, there would be a big smile and a hug. I met my closest friends there. I was raised there. It changed my life."

To give back to the club which taught him so many life and business skills, De La Cruz is leading a team from the Lawrence Bar Association in the fourth annual BGCL Take Action Walkathon on Sunday, Oct. 15 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. The two-mile walk along the Merrimack River will begin and end at the club located at 136 Water St. in Lawrence, with music, face-painting, games and other family activities.

The event has raised nearly $60,000 since its inception. Proceeds support more than 4,400 youth members who depend on the club for supper each night, homework help, fitness and nutrition programs, college and career planning, and lasting personal relationships with caring volunteers and staff members.

Prior to joining the club, De La Cruz recalls often being alone at the Hancock Housing Projects in Lawrence while his single mother worked two and sometimes three jobs to provide for her two sons. "Going to the club helped me feel sheltered, wanted and protected, like I was part of a bigger family that was genuinely looking out for me," he said. "It felt like home."

De La Cruz participated in reading and other academic enrichment programs, leadership clubs and community service at BGCL, but the activity he loved most was basketball. "I played day in, day out," he noted, "but I learned so much more than basketball: discipline, dedication, leadership, teamwork, finishing what you start and humility. I can't put into words the impact those qualities have had on my entire life."

After graduating from Kimball Union Academy, which he attended through a scholarship coordinated by the club, De La Cruz attended the College of the Holy Cross on a basketball scholarship, earned his law degree from Suffolk University and worked at the Essex District Attorney's Office. He opened DLC Law Group in 2000, with the hope that his example will inspire "someone growing up the way I did to no longer see a law degree as out of reach."

"The club gave me the desire to achieve, and the desire to become more than what I saw around me, so I could help my mom, my grandmother, my community, my state and my nation," De La Cruz said. "I learned all of that at BGCL."

Register for the BGCL Take Action Walkathon at https://bgclma.ejoinme.org/walk2017. For sponsorship information, contact Andrea Nahigian at 978-683-2747, ext. 118 or anahigian@lawrencebgc.com.

 

Did You Know?

Since 1991 four members of the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence have been recognized by the President of the United States in the Oval Office.