Success Stories

Success Stories

Growing up in today’s world isn’t easy, but for many kids in our community, it is tougher than you might think. At BGCAA, we strive towards a world where every child is given the opportunity to succeed in life and experience a brighter future.
Youth of the Year Update 
You may remember Dyamond as the Youth of the Year for BGCAA in 2016. Dyamond is now entering her Junior Year at Annapolis Area Christian after spending the summer as a Junior Staff member at BGCAA's Bates Clubhouse. She is hoping to play on her High School Varsity Volleyball team this year but plans to continue to focus her energy on good grades so she can attend NYU when she graduates to study Business Management and History. Her ultimate goal is to one day give back to the community working for a nonprofit or the school system to help with growth and development. Quite simply, Dyamond loves working with kids and working as a Junior Staffer this summer has shown her that she is on the right track. 

Her favorite take away from working at Summer Camp was "humility". The kids taught her that it's okay to make fun of yourself and not be prideful. She also learned from her year serving as the Youth of the Year the importance of recognizing people who help you along the way. She hopes to be one of those helpers in many young lives. 
Meet the Teen of the Week
Dyamond (back row)
With Summer Campers at the Bates Clubhouse

Congratulations to the Class of 2017
Kaitlin Weimann- University of Maryland College Park
Zach Osborne- University of Maryland College Park
Akirah Taylor- Anne Arundel Community College
Kayla Johnson- North Carolina Wesleyan
Ke'Asia Smith- Anne Arundel Community College
Maryssa Hardy- Florida A&M University 
Omari Shelton- California University of Pennsylvania 
Ahniyah Johnson- Coppin State University and United States Army Reserve
Arthur Slade- Frostburg State University
Brandon Turner- Anne Arundel Community College
Aley Oberdorf- Penn State or University of Maryland College Park (undecided)

Teen of the Week
Annapolis High senior Arthur Slade III anticipates wrapping up his college applications in time so he can fully enjoy the Thanksgiving break. After visiting several colleges, he's still mulling the pros and cons of seven colleges and their campuses. Every day after school, Arthur hops the yellow bus to the Bywater Community. His stop is near the Bywater Boys & Girls Club. There, as he has since his sophomore year, as a junior staff member, Arthur helps the club's youth complete their home work and settle down for study time. Read the article in The Capital here. 
Meet the Teen of the Week
Click link above for video

Congratulations to the Class of 2016
Shawnay Allen - Pheonix Academy High School • Anne Arundel Community College
Emori Dickens - Meade High School • Anne Arundel Community College
KeAsia Edwards - North County High School • Hampton University
Kayla Edwards - St. John's College High School
Tristen Griffith - Glen Burnie High School • Alabama A&M
Kennedy Henson - Annapolis High School • Coppin State University
Amber Jordan - South River High School
Ashanti Lemmon - Broadneck High School • Morgan State University
JaSon LeVergne - Meade High School 
Tryone Newman - Glen Burnie High School • Anne Arundel Community College
Chioma Nwabuzo - Glen Burnie High School • Morgan State University
Aliyah Short - Meade High School
Jazmin Stepney - Glen Burnie High School • Anne Arundel Community College
Symone Taylor - Annapolis High School • Morgan State University
Decarlo Waters - Meade High School • Anne Arundel Community College

Youth of the Year Winner Looking Forward to College
Two-time Youth of the Year Desmond Beggarly is ready to ‘buckle down’
No one who knew Desmond Beggarly's family situation when he was a tot could have predicted he'd become the smart, confident leader he is today. The 18-year-old recent graduate of Glen Burnie High School, who was among the top students in his class, turned down a full scholarship offer from Princeton University. Instead, he'll be a freshman this September at University of Maryland-College Park, majoring in aerospace engineering.  Read the full article here. 

Story and Photo by Wendi Winters - The Capital - 8/24/15

Junior Staffer Makes an Impact while Pursuing Dreams
As the first in his family to attend College, Kelsey Johnson, 18, is entering his Sophomore year at American International College in Springfield, Massachusetts. He is in the five year Physical Therapy  program and hopes to one day work in either Florida or Boston. MA. He fell in love with Florida when he went with BGCAA's Member-led Leadership Program to a Keystone Conference in Orlando. But, he also fell in love with Boston when he recently went there as a Youth of the Year representative for a Club in Massachusetts. Maryland? Florida? Massachusetts? So many options!  

Kelsey was a member of the Boys & Girls Club at BGCAA's Bates Branch since he was ten years old. He transitioned to a Junior Staff position for the past two years and works at BGCAA during his school breaks. When he is up in MA studying, he works part-time as a Youth Development Professional at the Boys & Girls Club Family Center in Springfield, MA, overseeing athletics and team building. There, Kelsey earned the title Youth of the Year and went on to compete in the State YOY competition in 2015. 

Kelsey has a rigorous schedule coming up this Fall - studying to be a Physical Therapist by day, and working at his local Boys & Girls Club every afternoon and evening. He is a great role model and has impacted youth and staff  in both Massachusetts and Maryland. If ever you are in need of a smile or a little inspiration, have a chat with Kelsey. We guarantee your day will get a little brighter! 
Kelsey Johnson at the End of Summer Camp Celebration and Color-FULL run/walk
"Working at the Boys & Girls Club is an awesome experience. To be so young and know the impact you can have on someone regardless of age..."
"Being a Junior Staffer (at BGCAA) is like belonging to a Club."
"I'm thrilled to say that my two younger sisters plan to follow in my footsteps and go to College as well."

Congratulations to the Class of 2015

Janel Adkins – Meade High School • Anne Arundel Community College
Kevin Allen, Jr. – Calvary Baptist Church Academy • Salisbury University or UMBC
Desmond Beggarly – Glen Burnie High School • UMD College Park
Brionna Dove – Annapolis High School - Wesley College  
Paris Lyles – Phoenix Center - Trade School
Ana Perez-Hernandez – Annapolis High School • St. Peters University
Kimberly Portillo- Annapolis High School • Anne Arundel Community College
Kyra Saunders- Annapolis High School • Bowie State
Ropafadzo Shumba – South River High School • University of Maryland - College Park
Kanaja Smothers – Annapolis High School • Anne Arundel Community College
Arriel Surgeon – Annapolis High School • George Mason University
Antonique Williams – Annapolis High School • Anne Arundel Community College
On May 20, 2015, the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Annapolis
& Anne Arundel County hosted an event to celebrate the Club Members who will be graduating in the Class of 2015, and the Club╩╝s middle schoolers who will transition to high school in September. The celebration featured a recognition ceremony,
games, and food, and is made possible through a $10,000 grant from the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens™.

Robert W. Woodruff Fellowship Awarded to Club Director at Bates

Franchaze Waters was recently named one of the four recipients of the prestigious Robert W. Woodruff Fellowship award. Franchaze was recognized for her commitment to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Annapolis & Anne Arundel County and has certainly enhanced the atmosphere of the Club and, undoubtedly, improved the quality of programs for our Club members. She has consistently demonstrated excellence, enthusiasm, and an aptitude for learning and for this, we are all very proud of this major accomplishment for her and her continued journey with Boys & Girls Clubs.

Thank you so much Franchaze for your conscientiousness which has contributed in a very real way to the Clubs success and for embracing the notion that "Good is not our goal; we strive for excellence."

“Being selected as a Robert W. Woodruff Fellow is a great opportunity not just for my professional growth, but an example to our young people that setting and committing to your goals will open the door to success" said Franchaze after winning the prestigious award. She plans to use the $10,000 fellowship funds to help pay for her Master's degree, attend leadership training programs and to complete an internship project. Currently, she is taking online classes at Liberty University to earn her Master's of Arts in Executive Leadership. 

The Robert W. Woodruff Fellowship Program is a highly competitive program established in 1975 for the purpose of cultivating long-term leaders. The fellowship supports professional growth and development for Boys and Girls Club staff that have demonstrated an outstanding contribution to youth development. The fellowship has served as a springboard to support efforts in fostering professional growth and development within the Movement.

Congratulations Franchaze! 


For Kelsey, the moto, “Great Futures Start Here’’ couldn’t be more true. 
 A member of the Wiley H. Bates Boys & Girls Club for over 8 years, he attributes the club for keeping him grounded. Last year for his senior college essay Kelsey wrote, “My Mom had one rule for everybody; do your homework before my dad got home. In the chaos of our life I started to fall behind. While I managed to make honor roll throughout elementary and middle school, high school was very hard. My grandfather died; my mom became depressed, under these circumstances the Boys and Girls Club became my sanctuary. 

 I could hang out with friends and stay there until closing. I could starve of reality until I went home to little or no food.” Kelsey said he always wanted to be a part of the Junior Staff program at the Boys & Girls Club and during his senior year, he had reached a level of academic success to apply and was hired. Throughout his senior year, Kelsey was not only active as a Junior Staff member, he continued to achieve academic success earning between a 3.0 and a 3.50 each quarter, a member of the track and field team and on the SGA as the President of AVID scholars. Kelsey currently attends American International College in Springfield, Massachusetts. His love of Boys & Girls Club inspired him to reach out to the local Boys & Girls Club in Springfield where he was hired and works part time while attending college. Through Kelsey’s experience as a Junior Staff, he developed an interest in youth development services and professions and has exemplified the goal of having teens return to the community as mentors, tutors, and youth development leaders.


Kyra has been a Boys & Girls Club member for as long as she can possibly remember and is a candidate for the 2015 Youth of the Year Award.

 When she saw there was a Boys & Girls Club hiring fair in her local high school cafeteria, she knew instantly she wanted to be a part of the organization. Kyra was a perfect fit. As a student of the early entrance to the Academy of Health Professions, Kyra has a natural desire to help others. Taking classes in nursing and working with youth solidified her desire to continue with nursing in college. As a senior in high school, Kyra has already received her CNA certification and later this month plans on taking her test to receive her GNA certificate in Genealogy. With Kyra’s heavy academic schedule, being a part of the Junior Staff Career Development Program allowed her the flexibility to work and achieve a high level of academic success. This year, she was able to work 3 days a week while her taking a heavy academic course load. “Preparing for tomorrow by making a difference today” is a key theme in the design and implementation of the junior Staff Career Development Program and it is never more evident than in Kyra Saunders: tomorrow’s future pediatric nurse.

Junior Staff Career Development Program
2014 High School Graduates
Kelsey Edwards        
Kelsey Johnson        
Dakera Day             
Demontae Reid         
RaKwan Coates         
Malik Forrester          
Terry Sampson         
Brittany Taylor  
St. John’s College HS           
Annapolis High                    
Glen Burnie High   
Glen Burnie High    
Meade High         
Glen Burnie High             
Annapolis High                     
Annapolis High
University of MD College Park
American International College
Morgan State University
Fairmont State University
Lincoln Tech

Junior Staff Career Development Program
2013 High School Graduates

Congratulations to the graduating class of 2013! We are so very proud of your many accomplishments and look forward to cheering you on as you become pharmacists, astronauts, scientists, teachers, administrators, and help make the world a better place. 


When Chris was born, he wasn’t expected to survive without the use of medical devices. With Asperger’s Syndrome, his mother was fearful that Chris would never find his place in the world. Living in the Bywater community, Chris was given the opportunity to become a member of the Boys & Girls Club.

After just one visit by Chief Professional Officer, Reggie Broddie, to his home Chris became a Club member. His fear of the most basic things (grass, water, and people) faded away over time and through programs such as Keystone and Junior Staff, it became clear that Chris’ future was in his hands. Those programs taught him leadership and gave him the social interaction skills he needed. He was awarded the Youth of the Year Award in 2007 and is currently attending Anne Arundel Community College. 

Chris is the oldest member of the Junior Staff Career Development Program and is employed at the Bywater Boys & Girls Club. Recently he made history by being the first Junior Staff member to move into a Program Staff position. 

Chris served this year as a Keystone Club Advisor and was a part of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America awarding the BGCAA the National Keystone Club of the Year Award.

Chris is a 2011 graduate of the Leadership Academy at Towne Park. He was he was selected 1 of 11 out of 36 other Junior Staff to participate in a 12 week session featuring Towne Park’s worldwide executive leadership.


Seventeen year old Jakwaun has been a member of BGCAA for as long as he can remember and recently joined the Club in a new role - one of mentor and Junior Staff member. 

This may not seem like a huge feat, but for Jakwaun, who wrestled with staying on the ‘right side of the tracks’ all of his life, this accomplishment is proof that focus, determination, positive role models and hard work pay off. 

“I was very immature and didn’t care about my grades, school, or anything associated with it,” says Jakwaun. “I used to hang out with people from my neighborhood who were bad influences on my life and that led to bad things.” Ultimately, those “bad things” led to Jakwaun going to the Phoenix Center, an accredited alternative school for students with delinquencies; both academic and behavioral.

With the support from the Phoenix Center, inspiration from his grandmother and resources and role models at the Boys & Girls Club Jakwaun changed paths - from mischievous Middle Schooler to High School Honor Student.

Says Jakwaun “I learned from my mistakes and from the mentors around me.” He also credits his Annapolis High School football coach for helping to create a path to success. “When I first came to football workouts in the summer, and Coach Brown said that colleges look at grades first, I knew I needed to change”. Jakwaun took the lesson to heart and changed his ways, his friends, and his study habits. He focused on better grades and went from a D student to straight A’s. 

In January 2012 this once struggling youth became a Junior Staff member at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Annapolis & Anne Arundel County. Lydia Ali, Director of BGCAA’s Junior Staff Career Development Program reflected back on first meeting Jakwaun “He made a lasting first impression on me when he was able to clearly define his weaknesses and what it took to overcome them.” “I saw him as a tangible means for those Club kids who have troubled pasts to relate. Jakwaun was ready to share his experiences with all who were interested; both shortcomings and successes.”

Now a Junior in High School, Jakwaun is passionate about attending College and getting a degree in Sports Management, Athletics or Recreation. He is a member of the Towne Park Leadership Academy 2012 and is successfully maintaining a 3.7 GPA while working part-time as a member of the Junior Staff team at BGCAA where he mentors youth and assists with programs. Jakwaun is a member of AVID, a college Preparatory program at Annapolis High School and is an integral member of the School football and baseball teams. He aspires to attend the University of Maryland upon his high school graduation in 2013. Jakwaun is a shining example of what success can look like. 


Tyrone helps club member in building a customized snow cone during Summer Camp 
Tyrone, a Junior Staff member at the Bywater Branch of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Annapolis & Anne Arundel County, (BGCAA) is known for his enthusiasm on the job and on the basketball court. As a soft-spoken young man, Tyrone is commonly overlooked for his true talents. His skills at work and on the basketball court have far surpassed anyone’s expectation of a young man his age. Tyrone is a hard working individual who has not missed a day of work in 2 years. 

Tyrone was diagnosed with autism as a high-school student. He made it all the way through school and up until that point only for his math teacher to realize that there was something very unique in the way he comprehended the lessons of class. She brought this to the attention of Tyrone’s counselor who was able to secure resources for him to be assessed and accommodated for his disability. Tyrone’s disability has not in any way limited his ability to serve within the BGCAA. Tyrone leads daily in the educational initiatives and vocational programs of the Club.

Tyrone will turn 21 this year and aspires to become a Contractor/Home Builder for HUD homes in impoverished communities throughout Maryland. The Junior Staff Career Development Program has supported Tyrone in every endeavor and has provided a stable, functional and disciplined regimen through employment that has ultimately prepared him for a long and successful career despite his disability. The Junior Staff Career Development program is set to work with Tyrone to prepare essential documentations for hire and to align him with an educational program that will prepare him for a career in Construction and Home Building.

Like most Boys and Girls Club members, Omar's personal story is filled with challenges. However, with the commitment of Boys and Girls Club staff, the strong influence of his mother and grandmother, and his own commitment to succeed, Omar has overcome these challenges and is on the road to a bright future.

This is Omar's story: "My grandmother, Granny Terry encouraged my mother to become a Club member when she was ten years old. Granny knew the Club was a safe place to go, away from the bad influences on the street. Mom told me that as a member, the Club gave her focus and kept her on the straight and narrow. She was motivated to finish High School and attend Community College. She has a great job now with the USNA as a Clinical Coordinator in their Dental Clinic. As a young single mother, my mom had to rely on her family to help with my care while she went to work and school. As I learned later, this was not unusual for the kids at the Club.
I was just a baby when Granny Terry first took me to the Bywater Branch of the Boys and Girls Club where she was a volunteer. She'd wheel me in the stroller so that she could counsel troubled kids, talk with parents, help with homework and lend a hand with summer camp. When I was ten years old, I joined the Bywater Club. It has been such a positive place to go every day, away from the drugs and street gangs. Over the years I learned to be a leader, build my own self-confidence and reach out to other troubled kids. In a neighborhood filled with judgment, stress and worries - the Club was my oasis - a place where my friends and I could go and be ourselves, express ourselves and truly be who we wanted to be."
What Omar doesn't say in his story is that because of his achievements he was named the Maryland State Youth of the Year - the highest honor a Club member can receive. He is also employed as a Junior Staff member at the Boys and Girls Club where he has been a member of the Keystone Club, a small leadership development club that prepares Club members for community service. Omar just graduated from High School with honors and received a scholarship to attend the University of North Carolina.

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