Dear Champions for Change,
When we first arrived in Philadelphia, many deemed us as outsiders and newcomers as a way to dismiss our vision for change. We were told countless times that we didn’t understand how Philadelphia operated, and we just needed to accept the status quo for our Clubs and our kids. This mantra of “that’s just the way it is” did not align with our understanding of Philadelphia’s legacy as the heart of a revolution more than 225 years ago. A legacy, that we soon learned, was deeply connected to our family roots; family roots that came to Philadelphia in 1680.
Rather than being newcomers in the city, our journey to Philadelphia reflected a return home. Soon after taking leadership of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Philadelphia in 2012, we learned that our ancestors first immigrated to this great city on the eve of the beginning of the revolution, seeking freedom and change. They saw Philadelphia as a place of opportunity, where they could become contributing members of society without fear of oppression or judgement. Today, more than 225 years later, this is the legacy we that we work to carry out every day at our Boys & Girls Clubs.
As we enter the holiday season with the anticipation of a new year, 2022, we find we have much to be grateful for. We have navigated through 2020 and 2021 with much care, mindfulness, and courage as we have never wavered in our quest to serve the kids who needed us most. When food insecurity was at its highest, we served over 300,000 meals to our youth and their families. When academic abandonment was apparent, we educated the kids in 15 Access centers and embraced the community with hope and opportunity for a better tomorrow with our virtual platform and in person support. The most important aspect of 2020 and 2021 is that we remained connected to those who needed us most. A sense of belonging, competence, usefulness and power and influence was evident through our community outreach and program service delivery models.
Thanks to our benefactors, friends, and family we were able to rise to the occasion and continue to support our community through the nations highly emotional and turbulent times. With the support of some champion warriors who joined us with their leadership, instead of closing their doors, we were able to provide job security to over 220 employees, sustain life altering program services to close to 10,000 youth, while renovating and constructing new Club environments.
As a community, we safely gathered on the river front with great optimism and commitment, raising over $2.5M in one evening. It is through nurturing communication, full transparency, and support that we have been able to strengthen this organization as the lead youth guidance and development organization in the city.
We are grateful for each and everyone of our Board members, donors, friends, partners, and Boys & Girls Club family members for believing in our vision and celebrating in the success for the kids.
Let’s keep the momentum going strong and embrace 2022 with much courage for the present and faith for the future.
Wishing everyone a joyous and healthy Holiday Season!
In the best interest of the kids,
Lisabeth & Joseph Marziello
President-Chief Executive Officers