It has been more than sixty years since Bob Moore first stepped foot in the gym at what was then called the “Portland Boys Club.” His family didn’t have a lot of “extras,” and after school care and programs were often expensive. Walking around the gym with me, Bob recalled how the club was a “home away from home” – a place to unwind after school, shoot some hoops and be a part of a loving, nurturing community. He pointed to a motto on the backboard of one of the hoops that has been there since the club was founded. It says “A Winner Never Quits – and A Quitter Never Wins.” The slogan has stayed with him all these years.
The Boys and Girls Clubs of Southern Maine are still working their magic on disadvantaged kids in the areas they serve. The director, Bob Clark, says some of the club alumni are pretty frank about what kind of difference the place has made in their lives.
” Some kids say if it was not for Boys and Girls Club I don’t know where I’d be today, I wouldn’t have graduated from school. Some of our alums and we have a very large alumni association that gives back – some of them very candidly say if it wasn’t for the Boys and Girls club, I’d be in jail right now.”
The students I spoke with say the staff at the Club is always there to help – whether it’s with homework or a family or social problem. One teen told me – “This is the place where I can truly be myself.”
So let’s go back to Bob Moore. You could say he lived up to that slogan on the backboard. He went on to become a fighter pilot, an attorney and CEO of the Dead River Company. And that company just gave the BGCSM a donation of $100,000 toward their three million dollar fundraising goal. Moore says he’s just happy to be “giving back” and helping to nurture the leaders of tomorrow.
At just five dollars a year per child, the BGCSM is a pretty good bargain for kids who just may be the ones “Making A Difference” sixty years from now.