ANCHOR. Name: backtotop

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Welcome Alumni!

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Mercer County invites former members, staff, volunteers, and supporters to join and reconnect!

We will use this page to tell alumni of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Mercer County about events, ways to connect to current alumni, how to help and volunteer.

Please take a look at our featured stories section to read about alumni and where they are now! Click HERE to be added to our alumni directory.

Do you have an alumni story to share? 
Let us know how the club has impacted your life! Contact Reggie Coleman at rcoleman@bgcmercer.org or click the button below!

ANCHOR. Name: LSantiago

Lizbeth Santiago 2010 Graduate

Q: When did you first join the Boys & Girls Club?
LS: I first joined when I was 15 years old, it was in 2008.

Q: What was it at that time that connected to the Club?
LS: Well, I was in my lunch period in school when this gentleman, "Mr. Drew" walked up to me and asked if I would be interested in joining a program where I could get a paid internship. After further explaining the program I thought it sounded good so I talked it over with my parents, got their blessing and joined.

Q: Was "Job Ready" the only program that you took part in?
LS: No, I also took part in the Youth of the Year program.

Q: What do you remember about that program?
LS: I remember we were all assigned mentors. My mentor was Ms. Tricia who was very helpful in building my confidence. She helped me with my confidence helping me to put my thoughts on paper as we had to write a few essays in the program. I also remember Ms. Evonne who helped with public speaking and etiquette. I didn't win the Boys & Girls Club Youth of the Year but it was a great experience and I had fun the whole time.

Q: Were you involved in other programs growing up?
LS: No, my dad moved me and my family here from Puerto Rico in 2003 in hopes of giving us a better life and more opportunities. I was shy and we weren't really connected in the community.

Q: Are you still in contact with any of your friends you met at the club?
LS: Yes, as a matter of fact I met my best friend at the Club, Amparo Calix. We have been best friends for 10 years and had we never come to the club we wouldn't know each other and would not have all the memories we currently share.

Q: Where are you currently in your life?
LS: I am working in administration at a surgery center that specializes in Gastroenterology. I have been working there for four years. I will be receiving my Bachelors Degree in Health Care Administration in the spring and will then pursue a Masters Degree.

Q: How are you involved in the Club today?
LS: I currently work in the membership office part time and also lead a cooking class each week. 

Q: Any advice for parents or youth who may read your story?
LS: Yes, for me getting involved in the Boys & Girls Clubs of Mercer County was one of the best decisions me and my parents ever made. The Club can change a life as it changed mine for the better. It's a great atmosphere, a place to have fun, a place that will help guide you and shape you into the person you want to become.

Q: Any advice for staff and board members?
LS: I would just want to say "Thank You," for making it all possible for us to have Great Futures. Please continue to support our Club and our City.

ANCHOR. Name: RBarrett

Roger Barrett 2010 Graduate

Q: How were you first introduced to the club?
RB: I was first introduced to the club through the Job Ready Program. At the time I was looking for a job with not much success when I heard about a job program at the Boys & Girls Club. Our classes took place immediately after school on campus which made it easy to get to. Before starting the program we had to attend the orientation at the Boys & Girls Club I remember a big yellow Boys & Girls Club school bus picking us up and going down to the club. My first time walking through the doors the Club seemed so big, and since that day I became a regular member getting involved in Keystone and community service projects.
After completing the Job Ready program I did an internship at the club where I had the opportunity to work with both the young members of the club and adult mentors who showed me the ropes. Mr. Drew through Job Ready and Ms Evonne through Keystone as well as some friends who were already members of the club played a major role in me coming back to the club each year, as well as landing a part time job after my internship.

Q: What was your most memorable moment at the Club?
RB: My two most memorable moments was the "Midnight Run" where Keystone made care packages for the homeless and drove around the city passing them out to all in need. That was memorable, the teamwork of everyone coming together and the energy and togetherness was awesome and once we hit the streets and seeing how appreciative everyone was made it that much better and really touched my heart. The other event was when we reenacted the Obama / McCain debate. This was the event that made me really feel like I had a voice and needed to use it and sparked my interest in politics.

Q: Did you continue your education after high school?
RB: Yes, I attended The College of New Jersey where I received my Bachelors with a Degree in Finance. I plan to return to school in the near future to pursue my Masters Degree.

Q: Are you involved with the club today?
RB: Yes, I continue to support the club and give back to the community because it's important for our youth to have roles models not only to look up to but also talk to. Giving back was instilled in me at an early age and now is just a part of my daily life". I also recently volunteered to judge the 2018 Boys & Girls Club Youth of Year Event and I am looking forward to mentoring at the club in the near future. I have also volunteered time with the Bonner Foundation and Brothers of West Mentoring program for male students at the Trenton High West Campus.

Q: Where are you in life today?
RB: I am currently employed by the state of New Jersey as a budget specialist in the Department of Treasury. Prior to the state I was employed by the county of Mercer where I held positions in pay roll and pension.

Q: Where do you see yourself in five years?
RB: Residing in Trenton, married with a family and making a even bigger impact as a public servant.

ANCHOR. Name: abrown

Ashley Brown 2001 Graduate

Ashley became a club member in 1998 taking part in a program called "Be Proud, Be Responsible", a HIV/AIDS awareness program. After completing the program Ashley continued to frequent the club becoming an active member of the Keystone Club, a National teen leadership club in Boys & Girls Clubs throughout the country. Ashley graduated from Granville Charter High School before attending Seton Hall University where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biology in 2006.

Today Ashley is employed by Merck where she has been employed for 7.5 years. Initially, Ashley began her career at Merck in Manufacturing and Technical Operations, and after seven years moved into regulatory affairs, as part of a career development program. Currently, Ashley is based in Singapore, supporting fourteen countries in Merck's Asia/Pacific region. To get this opportunity Ashley applied for Merck's General Management Acceleration Program where she was one of 350 applicants who applied and was 1 of just 16 staff who were rewarded the opportunity, something that she is very proud of. In addition to being employed by Merck, Ashley continues to teach in the Global Health Program at Drexel University.

When Ashley reflects on her years as a club member what comes to mind is the Keystone Club, where she served as both President and Vice President during her high school years. "Being in Keystone I learned leadership skills and independence that has benefitted me greatly in adulthood and my career. In Keystone I had the opportunity to travel throughout the Northeast and as far as Anaheim, California and I had never traveled anywhere without my family before Keystone. Now 30% of my time is traveling; in the last 6 month's I've traveled to 9 different countries."

Ashley still stays in touch with club alumni through social networks. Two friends that she speaks with regularly are fellow Keystone members and alumni Sheebra Brannnon and Stephanie Ciliento. "Me and Sheebra have been friends since 2nd grade and actually joined the club together. Me and Stephanie met at the club and have become the best of friends, we talk daily."

Ashley continues to stay engaged with the club, over the years she has been a Youth of the Year judge and mentor, sponsored youth for programs, served on work groups and supported special events. "I think it is very important to pay it forward, I was given some great opportunities and I would like to see youth get these same opportunities and more. We all as adults have to do our part to ensure youth can learn, grow and enjoy childhood whether that is through volunteering your time, lending financial support, advocating for youth or providing support on a work group or committee. The Club is a great resource for the community and I plan to stay involved no matter where my career takes me."

ANCHOR. Name: mholloway

Mia Holloway 2002 Graduate

Mia first attended the Boys & Girls Club at the age of 8 years old coming to the after-school program and summer camp. Mia attended the Club faithfully for 8 years until landing a part-time job in high school. Mia says it was staff like Mr. Rich, Mr. Carl, Ms. Liz and Ms. Carol that made the club a special place for her.

After high school, Mia began working part-time for the club as the front desk receptionist and eventually became the full-time Membership Director of the Club. Mia was employed at the Club for a total 15 years and earned her Associates Degree as well as her Bachelors of Science in Human Services Management during her time at the club. Continually working to achieve more, Mia is currently pursuing her Master's Degree.

When asked what were some of her favorite moments at the club she says, "My Keystone experience definitely stands out, being able to travel and meet members from other clubs from all over the region as well as the leadership opportunities."

Mia is now employed by New Jersey Mentors where she supervises a group home and has a staff of 9 that directly report to her. When asked what keeps her coming back and staying involved with the club her answer is simple, "The club will always be my second home, the staff my family and Reggie Coleman my mentor." Mia is still in touch with many alumni who attended the club with her during her childhood years, "Social Networks have helped me stay connected with many of my childhood friends."

Mia now resides in Delanco, New Jersey with her 14-year-old Jai who is a freshman in high school and also grew up in the club attending since the age 5. Mia and her fiancée Karim welcomed baby Kari (future member of the Boys & Girls Club) on November 17th! Congratulations to everyone! 

ANCHOR. Name: brittanyJ

Brittany Johnson 2011 Graduate

Like many of our Alumni, Brittany was first introduced to the club during her elementary years.  Becoming a member at eight years old Brittany attended summer camp and the after school program.  "The Club was a place where I was able to go and be in a safe environment, meet new friends, have new experiences and just have fun".
 
Brittany continued at the club as a teen where she took part in the "Job Ready" program.  "Ms. Flo was my job ready coach and she did a great job teaching things like how to market yourself through your resume, how to prepare for an interview and how to be professional in the workplace."
 
After completing "Job Ready" Brittany was eligible for an internship at the Club in the after school program. During this time she gained valuable experience working with experienced staff while still being mentored by her supervisors as well as Ms. Flo.  "I started working at the club when I was 14 and that was when I pretty much realized that I wanted to go into social work and help kids."
 
After graduating from Trenton Central High School Brittany continued her studies at Montclair State University where she received her Bachelor's Degree in Family and Child Studies before getting her Master's Degree in Social Work from Rutgers University.  "I had a great college experience, in high school I was shy but I think my time at the club in my high school years helped me to be more social in college."
 
Today Brittany is a social worker for the Trenton Board of Education where she works with a total of 52 students in two elementary schools and one middle school.  "I encourage all of my students and their parents to go to the club and take advantage of all programs and opportunities they make available to the community."
 
When asked about her future goals, she says "I want to open my own day care school one day and instill the values that was instilled in me as a child."
ANCHOR. Name: alumniform

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