“Once I was at the Club, it was the staff that helped me realize, to my surprise, I did not need to fit in. Instead, I found my own place.” -Alexis Platt, Club Alum and Director of Education at Berkshire Partners Blue Hill Boys & Girls Club
My siblings and I were members of the Blue Hill Club when my dad was hired as the Executive Director in 1995. Every day after school, we participated in countless programs, while fostering friendships and learning so much about life.
When I think about the impact the Club had on me, I would have to say the one thing I gained the most was a sense of self and of belonging. My older brother was known for playing basketball and being great, and my sister did not want her little sister tagging along. As a result, I did not know where I would fit in. I was just “Baby Platt.”
Once I was at the Club, it was the staff that helped me realize, to my surprise, I did not need to fit in. Instead, I found my own place. There was always a staff member who focused on me as an individual and wanted to know how I was doing. It was so different from the world I knew of just being another Platt kid.
Fast forward to how I ended up working for this incredible organization. About a year after graduating from Framingham State University, I was talking with my dad and venting about not enjoying my job. I was explaining to him the kinds of things I wanted to be able to do for individuals and families, the impact I wanted to have, and the memories I wanted to create.
As the conversation went on he asked for some examples. We talked through what was important to me and what would be fulfilling. Every example I gave was something about the Club; my experience, a memory, a trip, a staff member. No matter how big or small, each experience was one that I had at the Club.
Finally, he said, “Well you know that the Club is still there, in the same place.” So, it was that evening that I went online to apply for a position, and here I am today.
I am happy to say that the Club still holds the same mission and values from when I attended as a child.
In my role as the Education Director, my main focus is building confidence in every member that I serve. Every day I make it my mission to focus on each young person by giving them that same sense of belonging I received from staff when I was a member. I want each young person I work with to be confident in themselves and their abilities.
My hope is that it translates into them raising their hand in class, or advocating for themselves, or trying something new. Even though as a kid I had a lot of things in my favor, like my dad being the boss and my siblings being popular, I still felt like I did not know where I fit in.
The Club did more for me as a child than I realized at the time and hearing members say things like “You are the only person who gives me a hug,” or “Thank you Ms. Alexis,” lets me know that I am giving them what I received when I attended the Club; a sense of belonging.
Alexis is an alumnus of BGCB’s Berkshire Partners Blue Hill Club in Dorchester. She received a BA in communication from Framingham State University. Today, she serves as the education director at the same Club she grew up attending. This is a modified version of the speech Alexis gave at BGCB’s 2019 Annual Dinner.
The mission of Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston is to help young people, especially those who need us most, build strong character and realize their full potential as responsible citizens and leaders. We do this by providing a safe haven filled with hope and opportunity, ongoing relationships with caring adults, and life-enhancing programs.