Volunteer of the Month – April 2016

Erika Turner, Club Kid

~Erika Makes a Difference~

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Southwest Virginia would like to both thank and honor Erika Turner for her volunteering efforts with our organization. She started her relationship with our organization as a member of our Club on 9th Street in SE, Roanoke. After her first summer here, she decided she wanted to make a larger impact than just attending the club; she really wanted to make a difference in the lives of the other members of the Club. Despite her young age at the time, she interviewed for a volunteer position to make sure she could handle the responsibility, and began her work as a volunteer.

Erika began her involvement with our 9th Street Club as a teenager who attended the club with her older sister. She reminisces on her first day with the Club saying, “The first day I met the teens, I thought they were insane, but when I got to know them, I realized they were just kids with really complicated lives.” Lives that she says do not mirror her own. Erika explains that she came from a “very type A” household so seeing some of the kids deal with such complicated lives and home situations opened her eyes to the reality of many people in the community around her. She mentions that because of the fact that she started volunteering at such a young age, she had not been exposed to different environments like the ones many of our members experience every day in their lives at home. Through her experiences volunteering for The Boys & Girls Clubs, she learned about how our programs impacted our members on a more personal level.

When Erika is not being a wonderful, hard-working volunteer she, like many high school students, has a robust life filled with academics . . .  and Lacrosse. She is one of the captains for her team at William Byrd High School and she occasionally misses practice to come volunteer. Despite her leadership role with the team, they understand her commitment to The Boys & Girls Club and how much she values the relationships she has built here with the kids and staff at our 9th Street Club. In particular Erika has noticed the hard work of two women in the club she “swears” are super heroes in BGC clothing; Tiffany Muse our Unit Director and Ms. Maria Moore, who is one of two teachers in our 3rd and 4th Grade classroom. She has noticed throughout her years with the club these women’s ability to deal with all different age groups of club members and do it with the kind of grace that makes their hard work look easy.

Erika truly values the experience she has gained here and the people who have positively impacted her own life. When asked about her advice for people in the community who would like to volunteer for one of our programs in Southwest Virginia, she says first off to, “Enjoy the simple things.” That, “the first kid who remembers your name, that’s pretty epic” and that “helping with homework, tying shoes, cleaning up . . . All of those things make a difference.”

Thank you, Erika Turner, for all of the hard work you do here for our staff and our kids. We are so incredibly lucky to have the dedicated, brilliant volunteers we have working with us! Thank you for your commitment to help The Boys & Girls Clubs of Southwest Virginia provide opportunities for our kids to live fuller, more fulfilled lives.