Source Weekly: What is your background? How did you come to the Boys & Girls Club?
Derek Beauvais: I started at the Boys & Girls Club in 2000 as a Club kid. As a member I would spend a couple nights a week at the Club playing basketball. Club staff later reeled me in as a volunteer and I began to coach a middle school basketball team throughout high school. I soon returned to the Club during my first summer back from college as a program staff. Since that first summer, I have spent the last 10 years in every position at the Club, and in June of this year became the interim executive director and hired as the executive director on September 1.
SW: Did you have a mentor growing up?
DB: A mentor came into my life at a pivotal time in high school that changed the path of my life drastically. I know that I wouldn't be where I am today without the direction and guidance of that individual.
SW: How do kids find out about the Boys & Girls Club?
DB: Kids come to the Club through various avenues: word of mouth from other kids and families, referrals from other nonprofits, counselors, school officials and other community programs.
SW: What is it that most of these kids are "missing" in their lives? And how is it that the Boys & Girls Club can provide that?
DB: Boys & Girls Clubs serves the kids that need us most. The magic of Boys & Girls Club is that our programs can fill many gaps in a child's life. Whether they need additional academic support, guidance in their personal lives, a safe place to go after school or a meal the Boys & Girls Club can meet those needs.
SW: Certainly one of the benchmarks seems to be graduation rates. What are the qualities or the support that teens need—and that the Boys & Girls Club—provides to address this?
DB: One of the three pillars of Boys & Girls Clubs is academic success; not only do we offer individual tutoring and homework help through Project Learn, we also prepare our teens and high school students for the next level of education through our BE GREAT: Graduate program. Through this program we provide mentoring, academic counseling (in coordination with local schools), FAFSA workshops, college tours, financial management skills and so much more. Over the last five years since the implementation of these programs we have seen a 100 percent graduation rate among our Club teens.
SW: And, recently some of the kids at the Boys & Girls Club started their own coffee business. How did that idea come about?
DB: The EcoRoast Coffee business came from a great relationship with the guys from Fundroast. They have provided incredible direction, guidance and support throughout the entire process including sales, marketing and profit management.