Meet Natasha Grove
– Boys & Girls Club of Middlebury alumnus
Hi, my name is Natasha Grove. I am 23 years old. I received my Bachelor of Social Work degree from Indiana University South Bend (IUSB) in May 2016 and I am currently pursuing a Master of Social Work degree at IUSB. I live and breathe education! Not only do I attend IUSB, but I also work there as a graduate assistant and have worked for IUSB almost three years now.
I joined the Boys and Girls Club in 2009 when I was a freshman in high school. When I first joined the club, I joined to play soccer. Playing soccer through the Boys and Girls Club opened up so many more opportunities for me. My first impressions about the Boys and Girls Club was acceptance. I felt like the club accepted me for who I am and saw potential in me that I did not see in myself. Shortly after joining the soccer team I was asked to join a group called Keystone that only furthered my accomplishments as a young teen. I was asked to compete for Youth of the Year and worked closely with my mentor Lara, whose encouragement and commitment to my success helped me to achieve the Youth of the Year award. Competing for this award took hours and long nights of practicing my speech. I competed locally against other clubs and won. After winning locally I moved on to state, where I competed against members from 13 other states and was chosen for the top five and received a scholarship. With great honor, I won state and moved on to regionals. Additionally, I received another scholarship for winning state. I was the first member of the Boys and Girls Club of Middlebury to win this award.
The Boys and Girls Club of Middlebury changed my life. Before the club, I lacked confidence and did not believe in myself to accomplish anything. The Boys and Girls Club believed that my story was worth sharing with everyone and that my circumstances did not define me. I would not be who I am today or have accomplished as much as I have if it wasn’t for the Boys and Girls Club. The Boys and Girls Club is more than just a place to hang out after school before you go home. The Boys and Girls Club can open up so many doors for you and provide opportunities that will help you succeed and meet your goals, such as traveling, receiving scholarships, leadership opportunities, and job opportunities. My first job was through the Boys and Girls Club and I loved every moment of it. I was given the opportunity to tutor another club member who was struggling in reading, writing, and spelling. The member’s mom informed me that his grades improved greatly after being tutored.
The Boys and Girls Club taught me how to network and hold a certain standard of professionalism that I still use to this day. My experiences and accomplishments that I have made through the Boys and Girls Club will never be forgotten and the club will always have a special place in my heart.
With my circumstances in high school, statistically I should have been headed down a road of destruction and despair, but because the Boys and Girls Club believed in me, I was saved from that destruction and headed down a more safe and successful road.