In honor of Women’s History Month this March, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Stoneham & Wakefield is celebrating by continuing to share powerful stories of the women of BGC history in its “Women who Inspire” Series. The series celebrates women who have attended the Boys & Girls Clubs in the past, work or volunteer at the clubs today, and those who serve as an example for youth in the future. These women energize the BGC community with their strength when faced with adversity, their empathy and compassion towards the young people who attend the clubs, and their steadfast support of the club’s mission to do whatever it takes to make a difference in the life of a child.
“Going to the club kept me straight, it kept me focused on the good and to keep going for the positives in my life. I had an older sibling that was “too cool for the club” he didn’t see the value. He unfortunately got involved with the wrong group of kids, got hooked on drugs and ended up passing away at the age of 30. I look back and am forever grateful for the club, I think that could have been me. I could have chosen that path if I wasn’t continually guided by my parents and my mentors at the club. While we both grew up in a good home we took very different paths.”
– Christine Murphy, Stoneham Club Alumni
Powerful “club stories” like these remind Donna DiVirgilio, who has worked at the club for over 42 years, just what kind of lasting impact the experiences at the Boys & Girls Clubs have on young adults. “Working at the Club is so rewarding, but you sometimes never really know the impact that the Club makes on everyone who comes through those doors. I am very lucky to have such a rewarding job,” says DiVirgilio, who has forged relationships with countless youth over the decades at her post.
With thousands of young girls passing through the doors at the Stoneham & Wakefield clubs in those past 5 decades, it’s impossible to walk through the halls without imagining the countless stories just like Christine’s. For some, the building represents a safe haven from the struggles of a challenging home life or responsibilities that supersede their age and maturity. For others, it signifies fond memories of a warm and supportive environment that gave them the confidence to succeed against adversity for years to come. Regardless of their stories, there is one feeling they share in common—-within those four walls they could all feel safe— even if it was only for a few hours a day.
This sentiment is sincerely echoed in the voices of women alumni, staff and youth leaders the BGC spoke with in honor of National Women’s Month this March. While National Women’s History month is set aside to honor women’s contributions in American history, the BGC organization thought it fitting to honor the contributions of women in its own history. By telling the story of the local girls who walked through the club in the past, there is hope to inspire the girls of the future that anything is possible.
Thank you to all our women alumni who shared their club story with us this month and helped us to celebrate the history of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Stoneham & Wakefield!