Trees of Hope: Boys & Girls Clubs

This week we are highlighting the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Northland in our Trees of Hope campaign. The organization has been providing children safe, positive places to reach their full potential. At the Dave Goldberg club in West Duluth last week, we met Karolyn Spampinato, one very busy lady.

“I have three jobs,” Karolyn said. “I also help my sister-in-law take care of her four kids now because she just had a newborn, and my husband and I had two kids, and then I help my friend Amber with her two kids.”

Karolyn manages a wild schedule. “Yes, it’s a lot,” she said with a heavy sigh. “Five, six, seven kids, it’s really fun when I shovel eight of them into my car.”

And without the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Northland, Karolyn says she doesn’t know what she’d do.

“The only way we can do it is with the club” she said. “Having the club here to help us, is absolutely amazing.”

Raising kids is hard. The staff at the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Northland know that and they’ve been coming along side Northland families to help for more than 50 years.

Karolyn said it’s a place for her kids to come after school. “It’s a place for them to work on their homework with their peers. It’s a place where they can play and get some of the energy out. It’s also a supportive place, we’ve gotten therapy services set up for some of the kids and have been able to have that extra piece of security that they have somewhere fun to go when they’re done with school.”

The goal of the clubs is to provide as many youth as possible with a safe, supportive environment that provides them the services they need to achieve bright futures as caring adults. The kids make friends, find one-on-one support from caring adults, learn teamwork and respect for others, and have fun being creative. Jakeile Taylor’s creative outlet is the recording studio at the Lincoln park branch.

“My favorite? Oh, let me tell you all about it. My favorite is the studio because I’m an artist myself. It encouraged me to come here a lot and, you know, be creative in the studio” he said.

Jakeile has been a club kid since he was just little. His outgoing personality helped him start making friends early on.

“Oh I have a lot of friends man. I’m popular here” he said with a big smile. “I’m like, I am the club, you know what I’m saying? yes!”

And now Jakeile brings his eight year old little sister to the club too.

“Why do I want to come here? It’s just a safe place for us, you know? We can come here and we get to hang with friends, and there’s a lot of resources we can use here for school. So, yeah, it helps us a lot.”

Jakeile and many other kids we talked to said the Boys and Girls clubs are their home away from home. Jakeile put it this way, “This is my family pretty much, yeah.”

The Boys and Girls Clubs of the Northland, changing lives – one kid at a time.

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