“He called me mom” This is how Diana one of our amazing staff began to tell me about Aden.

Aden came in every day from summer school during his first year. He was greatly influenced by two other club members that not always made the right choices, so he was a handful. However, his story is a great one because he has changed so much in just the span of 2 and a half years. Having staff that really cared for him such as Maki and Dee really helped him become who he is today. Aden comes from a low-income family and being cared for by his grandmother and his great-grandmother. They have been supporting him and his sister for many years. His grandmothers have been wanting him to do well as parents often do.

But sometimes Aden felt miss understood. His life was not like the life of his friends, he often found himself walking away from conversations that involved sharing about his parents. Once he knew that the staff at the club cared for him, he began behaving differently little by little. When he entered 3rd grade, he had already transitioned into the caring, thoughtful, respectful boy that he is today. Dee remembers the exact moment she knew the Club had made an impact in his life.

“One day during the school year, he accidentally called me “mom,” and he freaked out a little but then laughed it off. After that for the longest time, he would call Maki and I his mom, he would call other staff his aunt and uncle, etc.” Dee shared.

Aden began being an example of a club member that followed all the club rules. This past spring, he was in soccer with Dee and got recognized for “best sportsmanship,” because he was such a positive influence to his teammates. Kids often find themselves in situations that don’t make sense and they have a hard time sharing how they feel. In this case Aden in his own way shared with our staff his feeling of belonging, to something that he compared to a family.