Investing in Our Young People

It all started with some school supplies.

Two years ago, Clint Williams and Michelle Guy of Wells Fargo stopped by the Southside location of Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Richmond to drop off a few school supplies they’d collected. While taking a tour of the Club, the group briefly paused at the kitchen.

“And, this is our kitchen. We’re hoping we can make some renovations.”

“We can help you with that.”

After the money was raised by the Wells Fargo Contact Center team and the renovations complete, Clint and Michelle came back to the Club and asked, “What else can we help with?”

 A Club member gets ready to race a Wells Fargo team member in a bounce house obstacle course during a cookout this summer at Southside.

A Club member gets ready to race a Wells Fargo team member in a bounce house obstacle course during a cookout this summer at Southside.

Soon, Wells Fargo was hosting cookouts, Thanksgiving dinners and a Santa’s workshop at Southside. As the bonds between volunteers and members grew during those events, the number of hours spent within the Clubs quickly climbed.

“We planted a seed and have grown a group of people that are invested in the process and want to be involved.”

“We’ve found that the connection with Boys & Girls Clubs really resonates with them, and really it resonates with us,” Clint said, noting that several of their Wells Fargo teammates were former members or currently have youth in the Club. “We planted a seed and have grown a group of people that are invested in the process and want to be involved. We’ve got a really large group that is passionate about this, and do it because it’s the right thing to do. And, they love doing it.”

“The relationship has grown organically because we care so much about the group,” Michelle said. “We’ve built these relationships with the kids, we’ve watched them grow. They see us coming back month after month, event after event, we’ve become familiar. They know our names, they recognize us and we recognize them.”

Changing the odds for young people can become a reality through partners who are deeply invested in giving back to the community and in the work of Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Richmond.

When strengthening life-readiness skills became a focus of Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Richmond, Wells Fargo responded by making their financial literacy program available for the Clubs’ middle school members. This past August, the Clubs received a $10,000 grant to help support Ready2Win, the workforce development program designed for teens.

“I’m the most impressed with our partnership with Wells Fargo because there is always an option with them. They offer themselves both inside the Club and in their workspace, and Clint and Michelle go to the ends of the earth to make sure our youth have what they need,” said Caprichia Moses, vice president of impact at Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Richmond. “For me, their warmth, dedication and unparalleled commitment make this relationship thrive and succeed.”

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While Wells Fargo holds events throughout the year, they put a particular emphasis on September during their “Community Support Campaign” with creative, fun and impactful events.

As a result of last year’s giving campaign, the Clubs received a donation to help support transportation. This September, a group of volunteers donated their time to spruce up the Southside Club by painting benches and picnic tables and pruning the bushes.

 
 

The month culminated with a Bowl-A-Thon at AMF Shrader Lanes for a fun afternoon bowling, dancing, volunteering and hanging out with Club members. As a thank you, all five Clubs decorated bowling pins that were presented as trophies to the winning teams.

“When they see what’s happening, see the kids and what they’re involved with … there’s a sparkle in their eye that says ‘this is kind of cool, I want to be part of this, I want to help.’”

There are tangible ways to see Wells Fargo has made a difference, whether it be a new kitchen, a fresh coat of paint, a new bus or a new floor, but there are many intangible ways as well.

“One of the best things for us is when someone who isn’t familiar with Boys & Girls Clubs comes with us to Southside for the first time,” Clint said. “When they see what’s happening, see the kids and what they’re involved with, they see the location, there’s a sparkle in their eye that says ‘this is kind of cool, I want to be part of this, I want to help.’”


If you’re interested in becoming a community partner or want to learn how you can become involved with Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Richmond, drop us note at
development@bgcmr.org.