Page 11

The experience left the Reyes family grateful for the partnership and community members who contributed to the success of the day.

After the day’s hectic activity, the difference was evident for both the Reyes family and the five other Club families who benefited. The volunteers from Meredith, Rebuilding Together and the Boys & Girls Club proved the mantra that great futures start not only with a great Club Experience, but also with a great home environment. “It helped change our family,” said Reyes, whose kids – especially Bill, who has Asperger’s syndrome and is very sensitive to tactile needs – now have a comfortable, secure home environment where they can relax, rest and learn. “Bill has friends come over for Bible study and now they have space to relax,” said Reyes. “He tells his friends to take off their shoes because he’s so proud of how clean and nice the carpeting is.” The renovations also bolstered relationships between the involved families and the Club. “The whole process definitely helped strengthen our relationship with the Boys & Girls Club,” said Reyes. “Bill had a great relationship with Club staff in elementary school and that has continued now at the Baker Club.”

“It feels like we moved into a new house,” Reyes said. “We are so grateful because there’s no way we could have done it without Meredith, Rebuilding Together, the Club and all the volunteers.”

BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE As the Reyes family experienced firsthand, the influence of safe, stable and secure housing transcends the home environment. Maria Reyes said she hopes to see similar programs and collaborations emerge that would connect Club families with local partners to improve community and living spaces. “There are a lot of families with the same needs as us,” said Reyes. “If they can do this same project in other communities, I’m sure it will make a huge difference in people’s lives.” CEO Jodie Warth seconded that sentiment. “If we can look at addressing the basic needs of youth, such as food, shelter and clothing, through innovative collaborations like this, we are going to make an enormous dent in the education crisis our country is experiencing,” said Warth. “Ultimately, together we’re better.” Abbey Barrow is coordinator of resource development and communication for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Iowa.

For more information, please visit

Yo u t h o f t h eYe a r. o r g

9

Connections Winter 2015-2016  

Reaching the Summit. National Youth of the Year finalists, a testament to the Club Experience.

Connections Winter 2015-2016  

Reaching the Summit. National Youth of the Year finalists, a testament to the Club Experience.