What does the Madison Square Boys & Girls Club, a popstar and a telecommunications company all have in common?
Community service and civic engagement. At least that was what was demonstrated on Thursday, November 30 at the Madison Boys & Girls Club’s Joel E. Smilow Clubhouse.
U.S. Cellular showcased four teens from their nationwide Future of Good program to speak with the kids at Madison’s Smilow Clubhouse in Longwood about their own community service project.
The Future of Good program, which is in its third year, provides grants and even new supplies to youngsters around the country to help them with their community service projects.
One of U.S. Cellular‘s partners is the Madison Square Boys & Girls Club.
The Madison Square Boys & Girls Club is the oldest Boys & Girls Club chapter in New York City.
“They (Smilow) support 243 kids here every day. We wanted to pull together the youth here and the work they do for good causes in making an impact in their community, as well as our Future of Good (program) youth. We’re also donating $10,000,” said Kellie Sabo, U.S. Cellular’s director of Media Relations and Community Giving.
During the meet up, the Madison and the Future of Good teens also discussed the importance of confidence and knowing your own self worth.
Though the interaction was not long, the teens all left with smiles and a reassurance of their community commitment.
“I like helping other kids out and inspiring them to be better because nowadays there’s not a lot of good programs for kids,” said 16-year-old Beyonce Marte, a member of the Madison Square Boys & Girls Club.
“(Madison) Helps kids, teenagers mostly, to get out of the street and not do bad things and little kids to teach them how to be more respectful and kind to other kids and everyone around them.”
“If you have a passion, find that passion, and use it to make a difference in your life and the lives of other people,” said 17-year-old Chris Suggs, one of the Future of Good youth.
He started an organization in his hometown in North Carolina to empower youth to be more involved in their neighborhood.
Along with the guests, the phone service provider also invited singer and actress, Jordin Sparks, to present a U.S. Cellular gift to Madison, which was planned as a surprise for its membership.
“This event in particular was pretty cool because it’s really the core of who I am and what I do,” said Sparks, who noted she frequently advocates for youth programs and community giving.
“To see something and get passionate about it and say ‘I can change that, or maybe I can find somebody who can help me change it…’ You have no idea what you can do and how you can impact somebody until you actually do it,” she added.
When the check for $10,000 was presented by Sparks many of the younger members of the Smilow Clubhouse got so excited they stood and screamed in delight at the sight of her while others yelled, “We’re rich! We’re rich!”
“We are blown away by U.S. Cellular’s generous donation and can’t wait to put it toward improving our Clubhouse and enhancing programming,” said Tim McChristian, executive director of the Madison Square Boys & Girls Club in a statement.