Four out of the last five years a George Buck School 94 student has won the citywide Boys and Girls Club Youth of the Year award for elementary students. That achievement is a testament to the energy and excitement both staff and students bring to the club.

To win this prestigious award students must demonstrate in an interview their passion for service to their community and others.

Students learn about community service, character development, careers, health and more in the daily after-school club.

Marianne Stephens has been the site director at George Buck for 12 years. She ensures the club runs smoothly. That includes coordinating employees and volunteers, organizing activities and most importantly guaranteeing fun for the kids.

“I enjoy seeing the successes of the kids,” Stephens said. “Seeing the smiles on their faces when they succeed at something. I like to see I’m shaping them in some way.”

Stephens has certainly done just that. Each month Stephens gives students a book to take home. The club hosts monthly family nights, including skating parties. In November Stephens made a Thanksgiving dinner with all the fixings for club members and families.

The staff’s energy and examples flow down to the current and former club members. Several former club members that live in the school’s neighborhood come every day after school to volunteer with the younger members. One former member, Samra, started as a volunteer and is now part of the club’s staff.

“I love getting to see the progress of the kids,” Samra said. “Seeing them from when they first start to a couple years later is amazing.”

Samra, a 2010 graduate of Arlington High School, started volunteering when her little sister began attending George Buck. A job opened up, and she joined the staff.

It’s not just the staff that loves being part of the club; students love it, too.

“They help us with homework, and they’re nice to you,” Marie B. said. “They do a lot for us.”

“I like to have fun and spend time with everyone,” Sedia said.

The Boys and Girls Club at George Buck currently works with over 80 students. Families can join the after-school club for just $10 a year.

The program at George Buck started in 2001. IPS hosts four other clubs at Charles W. Fairbanks School 105, Francis Scott Key School 103, Jonathan Jennings School 109 and Riverside School 44. There are also facility clubs scattered across the district that host after-school programming for students ages 5-18.

“It is such an honor to have the Boys and Girls Club housed in our school,” George Buck Principal Dr. Edward Brown said. “The opportunities for social, emotional and academic development are endless. Our students truly love to be a part of a space that recognizes and celebrates them for who they are as individuals.”

We’re proud to have an organization like the Boys and Girls Club in our schools. They truly exemplify community service and spirit!