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“Every time I walk through that door, I’m 6 years old again. The same reasons I loved it then are the same reasons I love it today.”

– Andy O’Hearn, Charlestown Club volunteer and alumnus

At Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston (BGCB), our generational impact is only made possible by our community of supporters—especially those who volunteer their time across our sites. Jody Baum, a devoted volunteer since 2017, and Andy O’Hearn, a Charlestown Club alumnus and retired firefighter, have both become staples in Charlestown Club’s Education Room, constants that members have come to know as a part of the Club family.


“In 2017, I had been a part of a corporate group involved in beautifying the Club when John Killoran approached me,” Jody says, a long-time Charlestown resident. “He said, ‘We’re always looking for volunteers here,’ and without hesitation, I replied, ‘Sign me up!’ I had fallen in love with the Education Room, so that’s how my volunteering journey started.”

Andy, the youngest of nine siblings and a Club member from ages 6 to 17, the Club has had a lifelong presence for Andy’s family. “Moving home to Charlestown after joining the military, I felt a strong sense of obligation to connect with my community and pay back a debt to this Club,” Andy says.

“I wasn’t sure if I would relate to the kids and vice versa given the age difference,” Andy says. “However, through interactions with one member, we quickly found so many similarities, down to growing up in the projects with the same number of siblings.” Turns out, over 130 years, the foundation that makes BGCB successful has remained a constant. “I’m back in the library I grew up in, and seeing the Club then and now, it’s fulfilling the same mission.”

Andy O’Hearn in Charlestown Club’s Education Room

"Do the best at whatever job you have. A lot of people think it’s trivial, but if you just do your best at everything, that will lead to the next great thing."

Andy O'HearnCharlestown Club volunteer and alumnus

For Jody, working with young people on the precipice of something great has been the most rewarding part of volunteering. She has been helping a determined 5th-grade girl aspiring to attend Boston Latin, who one day got a letter that as soon as she passed her tests, she was in. “She was so excited to share this letter with me and her mom, and was dancing around the Club overjoyed that day,” says Jody. “It felt so good to know there’s such opportunity for someone who wants it and has worked so hard for it.”


Looking ahead to the next 130 years, Andy emphasizes the importance of Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston adapting to the changing neighborhoods and evolving community dynamics. “This place is different from how it was growing up,” he says. “I think the Club has to always stay connected to who they’re serving, especially with the town getting rid of the Bunker Hill Housing Projects where I grew up, which is one of the largest in New England. That decision directly impacts the Club, and a lot of families will be pushed out and unable to return to their Club.”

Jody Baum in Charlestown Club’s Education Room

Investing time and resources into teens will also be critical, especially as the landscape for life after high school continues to evolve. “College and the workplace are evolving, so we need to support kids so they’re aware of different opportunities,” Jody says. “College can be great for many kids, but what other options for a fulfilling life can we show them if that’s not the best path?”

Jody stresses the need to support older members through more innovative partnerships with local business and civic leaders through programs like BGCB’s Ready to Work. Both agree that the Club’s hallmarks should remain constants for families, such as winter clothing drives and healthy meal programs particularly during holiday school closures.


Thinking about BGCB’s Volunteer Program, Andy encourages volunteers to create consistent schedules where possible to enhance the member-volunteer relationship. “I used to be a firefighter, and now that I’m retired I can really see the members’ progress and build that trust because I can volunteer regularly,” Andy says.

Jody cherishes the variety of volunteer opportunities and the rewarding aspect of building relationships with the kids and witnessing their growth. “There are so many ways to get involved,” she says. “Whether you enjoy helping in the Education Room like Andy and I, or the pool, art, music, there are so many spaces to make a difference and build rapport with members, truly making a difference for them.”

Andy encapsulates his passion for the Club eloquently, stating, “Every time I walk through that door, I’m 6 years old again. The same reasons I loved it then are the same reasons I love it today.” First and foremost, giving back to the Club that raised him is about being part of something greater and the joy of building relationships through volunteering.

For both Jody and Andy, their volunteer days at the Club stand as their favorite days of the week, a testament to their unwavering commitment to Charlestown’s youth. Alongside talented Club staff, they’re making profound impact on generations within the community, just as someone once did for them. As BGCB looks toward the future, Andy and Jody’s dedication serves as a beacon, guiding BGCB’s mission for the next 130 years and beyond.

"Be kind. Do what you can to make the world a better place."

Jody BaumCharlestown Club volunteer

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