BGCGG Youth of the Year 2016 & 2017
2017 Maine State Youth of the Year, Jada Lin
“I started coming to the Club when I was in preschool. My Mom and Dad relied on the Club to take care of my brother and I when they were at work (they owned and operated their own restaurant). At first, coming to The Club just meant that we had a safe place to go during their working hours, but it has become so much more than that to us. When I was seven years old, home got difficult. The relationship my mother and father had grew toxic due to his alcoholism. When his behavior became violent, my mother decided it was in all of our best interests that we leave. I remember being shuffled from location to location. There were many nights we stayed at hotels and other nights when we had absolutely nowhere to stay. Through that all, my mother always made sure my brother and I had a full stomach, even when she didn’t, and always tried to make us feel like things were okay, even though they were not. Looking back, I am so glad we all had the Club to rely on. My brother and I had some consistency in our lives, and my mom had the opportunity to know we were well cared for.
I grew up a “Club Kid.” However, when I began coming to the Teen Center my outlook of The Club completely changed. I now had a place to get help with my homework from teachers I felt comfortable with. I was able to participate in many trips and experiences. Thank you to United Way for providing me with the scholarships needed to participate in special outings like the camping trips, Six Flags, and Boston. I was able to join the Keystone Club, which has given me the opportunity to earn hundreds of community service hours (assisting organizations such as Togus Veterans Hospital, The Ronald McDonald House and The Department of Health and Human Services). Because of my involvement with the Keystone Club, I also gained the chance to attend the National Keystone Conference in Orlando, Florida.