This week, at our Advisory Board meeting we were very blessed to have Marisha Grayson, a local Youth of the Year nominee, visiting to share her experiences with her local Boys & Girls Club. Everyone in attendance was amazed by her courage, optimism and professional demeanor. Below is a transcript of the speech she gave so you can all see how much impact one club and a strong staff can have on the lives of today's youth.
My name is Marisha Grayson and I am a senior at Booker T. Washington High School.
Mabee Red Shield (MRS) means so much to me. I’ve been attending the club for six years and over this period of time my whole life has changed drastically.
Attending the club has allowed me to become the mature young woman that I am today. When I first started coming to Mabee Red Shield I was very shy and quiet. I remember my first day at club like yesterday. I recall being timid around kids who were the same age as me, mainly because before I started coming to MRS, I attended a daycare where I was the oldest kid there. Nevertheless, once I started getting older I slowly but surely began to come out of my shell. The interaction with other kids has given me the abilities to be comfortable around people of all ages.
At the club I have learned to become a role model for not only the club kids but also for my siblings. Although it’s pretty difficult to be a role model it’s really touching to know that one day they just might say, “Hey, I like what Marisha does for the club, I want to do that when I get a little older.” That means that I have to always do the right things in order to be a positive influence for them. However, it’s imperative for me to be a great role model for my siblings because I am paving the way for them to succeed. I want them to know that whatever they put their mind to they can achieve, just like I did.
The club has also taught me that it is important to give back to the community. This is why I enjoy coming everyday to help out. I also volunteer at the basketball and football games that the club offers.
I have also learned a lot of things through the programs at the club. For instance, during the summertime I helped run Smart Moves which is a very informative program in which we teach kids basically how to say NO! As a club kid I learned a lot from Smart Moves and today as an older teenager I’m still learning new things. I also have enjoyed teaching the younger kids Healthy Habits and the importance of dental hygiene. Teaching both of those lessons was a learning experience because it was the first time that I talked to younger kids about important things that were vital to their lives. It was kind of hard teaching younger kids because they lose interest fast. But in the end the programs were fun and they learned so much.
When it comes to my education the club is a vital part of that. The staff was also very helpful because whenever I needed help with school they always supported and gave me advice. I really believe that it’s because of the club that I was able to be successful in not only middle school but also high school. It’s because of the resources that they offer, and I am so thankful for that.
Day after day I am so grateful for my club because not only do I feel like family when I’m here, but through the club I have learned so much about myself and of life in general.