Every day, about 100 kids flock to the Sto-Ken-Rox Boys & Girls Club to enjoy a range of activities, from tutoring and athletics to hanging out with friends. "We offer kids ages 6-18 programs like Homework Help programs, Dapper Dan sports leagues, swimming, arts and crafts, and more," explains Kevin Nicholson, Branch Director of the Sto-Ken-Rox Boys & Girls Club.
For many kids, the Club is a home away from home. "Our Club is vital to the surrounding community. It offers a place for these children where they can feel safe and be off the streets," says Mr. Nicholson. "Many of our youth members arrive after school and stay well into the evening. Here, they can get their homework done, eat a meal or snack, and play. But most importantly, they can socialize and interact with their peers."
One of the Club's most well-used areas is the learning lab, and it was in need of updates. According to Mr. Nicholson, "It is important to keep a welcoming appearance so that the children feel special when they walk in. This particular space had a high volume of traffic, and everything was beginning to wear down."
That's where Josh Harrison and Dreambuilders came in. Dreambuilders is an organization that connects nonprofits with professional athletes. Each athlete can design their own initiatives, although all of them support children in need. The Boys & Girls Clubs of America struck a chord with Josh, a Pittsburgh baseball star. "I just want to be able to give back to kids who may not be in a situation where they have everything they need. Just a little show of faith from guys like Edgar Snyder & Associates and guys like me may be the difference in a kid saying, 'Somebody does believe in me.'"
"What seems like a small gesture to us may make the biggest difference in the world to a child's future." Josh Harrison, Pittsburgh Baseball Star
As soon as our law firm heard about Dreambuilders' plan to renovate a local Club, we wanted to come on board. "It's so important to give back, especially to children. Places like the Boys & Girls Clubs are invaluable in giving kids a good foundation for their future," says Attorney Todd Berkey, a partner at Edgar Snyder & Associates. "We can't thank Josh enough for his support, because it really is his desire to help these children have the best opportunities possible in their lives."
Renovation began in March, and the baseball-themed room now has new carpet, paint, ceiling tiles, chairs, desks, tables, and updated computers. "There are kids who are going to benefit from what we've done here for a long time. At the end of the day, it feels great to know that you've done everything you can to help kids in need," says Josh.
Mr. Nicholson has worked at the Sto-Ken-Rox Boys & Girls Club for 16 years. In that time, he has seen what an influence the Club has had on kids in the community. "The most rewarding part of my job is the impact that we have on the children in our program. One of the things we try to teach our members is the importance of giving back to their community," he says. "Since I have been here, I've seen people who were members when they were younger come back and help at the Club as adults."
Our law firm is proud to be a part of this tradition of giving back, and we are inspired by the great work that Josh, Dreambuilders, and the Boys & Girls Clubs are doing in our communities. To learn more about the projects we're doing with Josh, visit our Dreambuilders page.
If you'd like to find a Boys & Girls Club near you, you can check out their website. And if you are part of a small nonprofit organization or program that helps children, feel free to get in touch with Dreambuilders to see if you can connect with a professional athlete in your area.