Making a Difference...a Club Director Speaks

I would like to share with you all a success story about one of our kids.

Butler-Mitchell member, Dialo, was a very challenging member most of the time at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Buffalo. Dialo and his younger brother were notorious for getting in trouble and being asked to stay away from the Club for a few days due to their extreme behavior. It was to the point where other staff members at other Clubs became aware of how troublesome these kids were.

Last year, Dialo was a participant in the Youth of the Year program and that experience changed his entire life.

Dialo didn’t win, but he enjoyed the experience and the time he spent working with other teen members taught him to believe in himself more than he ever thought he could. Dialo placed second and won a scholarship to a leadership program and has been attending for nearly a year, furthermore he has not missed one session.

In these sessions, he has teamed up with other smart teens to engage in volunteerism and character building activities throughout the City of Buffalo. The program ends in June 2016.

Last week, Dialo walked into my office to meet with me (we meet once a week at his request) and he gave me a letter stating that he was accepted into yet another leadership program. This program is with the Community of Giving Legacy Initiative and he was EXTREMELY excited. He said “I am doing so much now, I can’t see myself hanging out with my old gang members fighting and smoking weed anymore.” Because he was accepted in this new program, Dialo will be attending the Buffalo AUTO Show this month. He, along with other selected youth, will be going to the GM Tonawanda Engine Plant for a tour and to meet with Plant Manager Steve Finch in March. Considering the fact that Dialo wants to one day fly a plane and serve in the Air Force, this opportunity will continue to assist him in achieving his future goals.

The reason I am sharing this with you…

I have been doing this job for a long time (11 years) and I have seen many lives changed by the work we do. Some for the good and some for the bad, but watching this kid get excited about all the great opportunities he has is by far one of my top four stories. “No more gangs and no more smoking weed” is a statement by him that I will remember forever. I know that sometimes our days are long and seem hopeless, but WE change lives. I can only imagine how complicated and frustrating your days may get. I wanted to share this story with you because you don’t get to see these pictures often and my hope is that it will inspire you to continue to work hard, especially on those cloudy days. We all have roles to play and without all of you we cannot help change lives and communities the way we do.

It is my hope that you all know that you are appreciated for the things that you do and please know that this is not just a successful story made by the staff at Butler Mitchell, because I am sure that every Club has them, but this kid may reach his dreams in part because of all of you. SO THANK YOU, and keep fighting the good fight because kids like Dialo prove that what you are fighting for is worth it!