panditWhether or not our first US President, George Washington, actually uttered those words, I’m borrowing them in good faith. As we move deeper into the new year, celebrating Presidents Day, I’m thinking of the commitments society makes to our youth.  “You can be whatever you want to be; Just work hard and follow your dreams; You’re not alone!”
I contemplate what we at the Boys & Girls Clubs are doing to make those statements ring true.
At the MLK Day of Service event, Calling All Teens, youth told us their problems and proposed solutions. They stressed the ability to ‘know who you are’ as a powerful tool for pushing away peer pressure and self doubt that lead to unhealthy decisions.  A young panelist asserted that teens need to find and be present in their Boys & Girls Club.
Of course we were encouraged by what we heard and, equally resonant still, is the unspoken challenge to make these things possible. We cannot tell a lie to our kids as Club staff we will continue to put them first and serve them and their communities to the best of our ability. We are moving forward with the resolutions I outlined last month in this space, some of which are clearly focused on providing tools teens use to build character and self-esteem. We daily seek out the experiences and relationships, beyond programs, that will inspire dreams.
Since coming to BGCGW I’ve learned that consistency is one of the hallmarks of positive youth development. It’s our duty and our passion to keep our promises to the young people who currently come through our doors, and the many others who could and, hopefully one day, will.
As residents of Greater Washington, people who care about the future we will leave behind, I believe everyone reading this will join me in the desire to build trust in these young people.
How can you help? Come meet a member of a Club or staff; spread the word; consider making an unrestricted financial gift that can be used with full effect to help empower and sustain kids and teens. This is how, together, we will deliver on the promise to build great futures.
Truthfully!  Pandit