If you pass by the Boys & Girls Clubs in Siler City or Pittsboro on a weekday after school, you might see students playing games, doing their homework or engaging in leadership activities.
But behind those activities is a mission: provide every child with the essential tools needed for a successful and bright future. Students who participate in Boys & Girls Club come to the club receive tutoring, computer training, sports education, homework help, mentoring and much more.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Carolina (BGCCC) started with a presence in Sanford/Lee County and now has clubs in Lillington, Pittsboro and Siler City.
Last week, BGCCC announced a new CEO to lead operations, Sarah Womack. Womack has been serving as interim CEO since January following the departure of Daniel Simmons.
Simmons departed the position in January for a national position with Boys & Girls Clubs of America. He led the organization for seven years, including the expansion from Lee County to include Chatham and Harnett counties.
Womack, a Sanford native, came to the Boys and Girls Clubs after a 12-year career at the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, a national organization committed to the fight against all cancers affecting women. During her time at the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, she handled a variety of responsibilities from accounting to marketing, communications, event planning and extensive work with their national board and partners in conjunction with the CEO.
“Sarah’s tenure as our interim CEO has been nothing short of extraordinary,” said Joe Langley, chairperson of the BGCCC board of directors.
This week, we talk with Womack about what inspires her about BGCCC and what changes she hopes to see as the organization moves forward.
This past fall, I joined the team as Director of Resource Development at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Carolina.
My focus has been to do the things I believe are in the best interest of the kids we serve. So, for me, I do not feel that my mindset has changed with the removal of the interim tag. That said, I am humbled that our Board of Directors is endorsing the direction we are going and giving me the opportunity to see the work we are doing through.
This job is 100% about the kids. We see impact everyday in the lives of the kids we serve. You don’t have to wonder if what you are doing matters, you see it everyday.
As interim, we implemented some big changes in an effort to better utilize our amazing core of volunteers. These gifted and dedicated volunteers are community leaders who are able to help us more directly with our fundraising, programming, and stewardship needs. It has been a great change and one that I think will enable us to better serve all four of the clubs that make up our organization. Over the past few years, our Board, staff, and communities have worked diligently to expand our footprint, serving kids in three counties. Our focus is now to create the sustainability needed to serve with the highest standard of excellence.
I asked one of our most loyal donors to share her “why.” She told me she has seen so many kids come to the club for the first time and they, for reasons that are not always known on day one, have “dead eyes” — there is no spark, no excitement. That’s day one. Come back a week later and the same kid bounds into the club, excited and full of life. She said, “The Boys and Girls Club gives kids hope.” What more can anyone ask for?
I am constantly reminded that we are the solution to so many issues facing kids (and our communities). It is hard to pick one issue, because I think we do an incredible job of showing up for kids in the ways they need us. Last year, we provided nearly 26,000 meals for a population in which 77% qualify for free or reduced lunch; we are preparing kids to be productive members of society through our career readiness programs; young people are learning leadership skills; we have drug and alcohol prevention programs; our academic success efforts are helping kids get ahead and stay ahead academically — the bottom line is we are casting a vision for kids that we believe in them and that their future is bright.
Reporter Ben Rappaport can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @b_rappaport
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