Meet Malik! Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club
2019 Youth of the Year
My Clubhouse Experience
Experience and exposure are two themes that have been central during my time at Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club Lucile Palmaro Clubhouse. Never in my wildest dreams would I imagine being an ice skater and pulling off figure eights on the only ice-skating rink in the Bronx. Even more unbelievable, I learned how to ski as part of a Kips Bay program geared towards enhancing my ability and providing myself and other kids like me, an exhilarating and new opportunity. Becoming a Club member caused a remarkable shift in my life; it gave me an eagerness to try new activities that would otherwise be completely foreign to me. It has introduced me to things I didn’t even know I was missing out on. Going to Kips Bay keeps me looking forward to tomorrow when the Clubhouse doors open up! I have been a member at The Bay for a little over three years, unlike most of my peers who have been here since they were six years old. But in this short period, I have already discovered the purpose of this Boys and Girls Club.
The mission says it best: "To enrich and enhance the quality of life for young people by providing educational and developmental programs, with special emphasis on youngsters between ages 6-18 who come from disadvantaged or disenfranchised circumstances."
Personally, my experience at the Club has included character enhancing programs, fun activities, a variety of new experiences, and socially significant moments that motivate me from being a stagnant, localized Bronx kid. The mission is being achieved…The Bay really does “enrich and enhance the quality” of my life.
Before the Clubhouse, I prided myself on working as an unpaid volunteer in my community as a part of my duties in Christian service. I worked 10 hours a week (one hour a day sometimes two) and it was a significant role in my life. That role was the beginning of my transition towards being a leader. Now, I’m a group leader for the Athletics Department and I help monitor younger members on the skating rink. Leadership and character development have become more important to my time at Kips Bay as I’ve gotten older. The diversity and cultural exposure I’ve gained from my peers and the insightful direction from supportive staff, have benefited me immensely by giving me the confidence to lead. There are several programs that promote the importance of proper choice and educated selection, especially for teens. Leadership is more than just instruction or telling others what to. It is also understanding that people are heavily influenced by what they observe. At The Bay I’ve learned I must be accountable for my behavior in order to be an effective example for my peers. This belief became truly apparent when my little brother, who is also a member at Kips Bay, and his friends, wanted to imitate the practices that I have at the Clubhouse, compelling me to be even more aware of my actions.
I opened this essay with reference to Kips Bay’s "Learn to Ski" program that I recently participated in. This was one of the most exciting and terrific things that I have been a part of in a long time. The trip allowed me to be a better listener, athlete, and a better “people's person”. In the ski program, we were around new friends and nature, I even had an opportunity to ski with a world-renowned competitive skier, Glen Plake. Our instruction included weekend milestones, and as an active participant, I would strive toward the goals with the aid of my fellow peers, and of course with the aid of all the friendly staff at Hidden Valley. This experience grew
my understanding of discipline, rules, and results and it is all thanks to Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club inviting and supporting me on an amazing experience.
I have learned several lessons at Kips Bay and cherish each one but the most important lesson, for me, has been: if someone falls you can count on someone to catch you or pick you up. The hands on the Boys & Girls Club logo truly mean something! Encouragement and support are the staples of this organization. I am thankful for the relationships I’ve formed with staff and the bonds I’ve made with other members. I feel fortunate to be blessed with the life-changing opportunities available to me at The Bay. This has been the best after school program that I have attended. I feel lucky and grateful to have such rewarding experiences and I’m looking forward to having many more.