HIGH POINT, N.C. (WGHP) — The Boys & Girls Clubs of America started with one club in Connecticut in 1860 and now serves more than 3 million children in more than 5,000 clubs across the nation. 

The mission is to help children realize their full potential because “all children are at risk, everyone that’s under 18,” according to Alina Tate.

Tate shows up day after day at the Boys & Girls Clubs of High Point: she is the Director of the Carson Stout Unit and has a passion for helping children. She says her reward is seeing how children’s lives change for the better.

“It’s not the pay, you know it’s not the pay,” she says. “It is watching the children develop where we have impacted them in a positive way from the smallest little improvement to the largest. It all is worth being a part of.”

Tate says the program in High Point fosters three positive outcomes for the children: achieving academic success, building good character and citizenship, and living a healthy lifestyle.

12-year-old Kaitlyn Echols says she’s gone to the Boys & Girls Clubs for the last seven years.  She says what she learned in the “Smart Moves” program helped her make a big decision about her health.

“I had thought about trying to smoke and stuff but when we did like Smart Moves and Healthy Habits, now I know what smoking can do to me,” she said.  “I don’t ever want to do drugs or any of that.”

Echols also credits the Boys & Girls Clubs with putting her on the road to attend college because it helped her be less shy and more willing to express herself.

A grant from the High Point Community Foundation helps fund the programs such as one that helps students search for college and learn how to apply. Tate says she is grateful for the foundation’s help.

“That grant from High Point Community Foundation has been such a blessing to the Boys & Girls Clubs because the children that are getting ready to be out here in our world, our society, are getting really, really good information that they can apply in order to be successful,” says Tate.

She says seeing children become a success is what keeps her going. They get a lot from us, but I also get a lot from them.”

There are no requirements to enroll at the Boys & Girls Clubs. Programs are available for children from 6 all the way through high school graduation.