News & Stories

Letter from a Grandparent

May 22, 2017

The letter below is from the grandparent of three Club members at our East Club. This is one example out of thousands that shows why Boys & Girls Clubs is the most vital investment in our community.

Gennell Shuler writes:

“When I got custody of my grandchildren, I prayed that the Lord would allow them to have the finer things in life. I enrolled them in a school near my job, which had a great after-school program. The program was quite expensive, but it did not matter. I wanted what I thought was the best. After CPS cut off my child care benefits because my youngest was now in the first grade, and would not pay for after care. To my surprise, the cost for three kids to attend was more than my rent. I thought to myself, “I cannot afford this…what I’m I going to do?” I needed to find free or inexpensive after school care for my kids, and, quick.

I called around to a few places and all spots were full. I finally found one place that had openings in East Austin – Boys & Girls Clubs. My initial thought was that this place was for hooligans and gangsters. Knowing that it is in the middle of the projects, I went back on my knees and talked to the Lord. In the back of my mind, I kept saying I wanted the best of everything for my grandkids.

With no other option, I went to check out the Club and completed paperwork. I was impressed and immediately liked the staff. Mr. Arthur and his staff are very professional, and polite. The kids were able to start and after being there a bit, the kids enjoy going to the Club.

As the weeks go by, I continue to see the impact the Club has on my grandkids. Every day, volunteers from AmeriCorps help them with their homework. A hot dinner is served each evening at 5:30 p.m., which means a lot to me. The center also taught the kids about gardening, how to fix bikes, and gave each child a new bike. There are times the kids come home with tickets for special events around town. Typically, kids spend a lot of time on electronic devices after school. But, not at the Club. The kids do a variety of activities, and they keep the kids moving.

One evening, I had a problem with my car and was late getting to the Club. They assured me everything was okay. They even told me to take my time. I really felt bad. When I finally arrived, I learned that we were named ‘family of the month.’

Later that evening, I thought God answered my prayer, just not the way I wanted it answered. God is the creator of everything and his creations are good. There is a trustworthy, respectable, and good center in the middle of the projects in East Austin – Boys & Girls Clubs.”


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Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area (BGCAA) provides a safe, positive, and engaging space where youth can discover their full potential as productive, responsible, and caring community members.