Last week I had the pleasure of attending the second annual Steak & Burger event for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Las Vegas at the Renaissance Hotel. Walking in, I anticipated a wonderful event as I have previously attended Girls Day and am familiar with the powerful mission of the clubs. Little did I know, however, how moved I would be by the courage and sheer grace displayed by a group of teens.
The evening began with a quick introduction by master of ceremonies, Chet Buchanan, who asked us all at the table to introduce ourselves with our name, where you work/which club you attend and what our career aspirations are. As the teens listed off impressive dreams of becoming a professional soccer player, a video game designer or an oncologist, I took a second to reflect that these aspirations are truly inspired by the guidance of the Boys & Girls Clubs.
As conversations continued, I got to know a little bit more about the importance of the clubs to these kids, and what it means for them in their lives. The gratitude exuded throughout the room, as the teens discussed their experiences at their respective club. Many look to the volunteers as mentors and, most times, as an adult figure in their lives to lead them down the right path in life. It’s hard to imagine not having someone like that in your life growing up as a kid while being exposed to constant pressures such as peer approval, let alone gangs and drugs. It warms my heart knowing that even though some of these kids may not have the luxuries I did growing up, someone out there is willing to take a chance on them and give them an opportunity to achieve their dreams. And it makes me want to be one of those people.
The evening was meant to serve as a lesson in etiquette and teach the young adults proper dining techniques as well as conversation tips for future career networking opportunities. And not to say this wasn’t accomplished but I think many of the adults in the room left with an important lesson or reminder; the importance of our youth and the power of giving back.
For those who may also be interested in getting involved, I encourage you to check out the Boys & Girls Clubs of Las Vegas website, or stop by the Club Blue Las Vegas mixer for professionals under 40 on April 12 at 6 p.m.