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Are You a Future-Ready Leader?

Are You a Future-Ready Leader? By Geovanny Ragsdale

Boys & Girls Club of the West Valley (BGCWV) is committed to being a thought partner with you in the development of tomorrow’s next-gen leaders. The program our Club initially implemented as College Bound almost 16 years ago, today is known as Future Ready. The goal of the program is to ensure every Club member is indeed Future Ready upon graduation.

Our founders envisioned a Club that would provide safe, affordable, educational, and productive activities for at-risk youth during non-school hours. As an important part of that vision, we are dedicated to building the community’s social and economic fabric.

The work we do, day in and day out, with youth in UTK through 12th grade is impactful on our community. Youth today are facing new challenges of mental and emotional health like we’ve never seen before. They are struggling to fully understand their identity, values, and place in the world. BGCWV serves close to 3,000 youths with caring mentors, advisors, and coaches who help them achieve academic and career success, explore community engagement, and learn the importance of living a healthy lifestyle. We take this responsibility to heart as we aim to ensure our members graduate on time, Future Ready to be contributors to society.

Never before have we had so many generations working together in the workforce. Today we have:

  •   Baby boomers;
  •   Gen X;
  •   Millennials; and
  •   Gen Z.

Potentially, individuals born in 1954 (70 years old in 2024) to 2008 (16 years old in 2024). This 54-year time span has seen much change. Some by way of diversity, equity, inclusion, communication styles, technologic advances, values, and political views just to mention a few.

At the Club we strive for youth to understand what it means to use their voices and to advocate not just for themselves but on behalf of those around them. We open doors to volunteer opportunities throughout the community so they can discover their interests and passions. Our programs are divided into five pillars: Education (from literacy to STEM), the Arts (fine arts to digital arts, dance, and music), Sports & Recreation, Health & Wellness, and Leadership & Character Development.

Youths are exposed to various industries and career paths, allowing them to satisfy their curiosity, for without it our society loses the innovative spirit that has moved our communities and our nation forward over the years.

So, what does it mean to be Future Ready leaders?

In my opinion it means we are:

  •  Curious and constantly asking “WHY” until we reach the deepest impact possible.
  •  Adaptable to constant change coupled with resilience to stay the course.
  •  Strong communicators to get our messages across the negative noise so prevalent in society today.
  • Empathetic to those around us so we can understand and support the viewpoints of those whose voices are often not heard.
  • Engaged in the community around us and not just complacent with societal norms.

As businesses and community-based-organizations we have an opportunity and responsibility to help develop that next-generation of leaders for our community and the world.

Boys & Girls Club of the West Valley invites you to partner with us in this venture. Our four imperatives are focused on serving more kids, improving the Club experience, investing in our people, and being integrated in our community. We can’t do it alone. If you want to invest your time, talent, and treasure in a way that will pay out dividends for years to come, consider joining our Club as a volunteer, donor, or staff member. As Mary Rose McGeady, an American Catholic religious sister with the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul who was widely acknowledged for her work with homeless youth in the United States, once stated, “There is no greater joy nor greater reward than to make a fundamental difference in someone’s life.”

Full article published in LA Business Journal, linked here (page 50).

GARY M. THOMAS CLUBHOUSE

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Boys & Girls Club of the West Valley is a registered 501(c)(3) in the state of California and is permitted to receive gifts in Los Angeles. EIN: 95-4419365

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