Tyanna attended the Boys & Girls Club for 12 years, from the first day of elementary school to the day she graduated from high school. Today, she is a 19-year-old freshman at Florida Atlantic University who dreams of becoming a plastic surgeon or dermatologist. While Tyanna ultimately settled on pursuing a degree in biology, she would not have considered this path if it wasn't for the Boys & Girls Club opening her eyes to a world of career opportunities through the organization's workforce development programs such as those housed inside the Clubs' Tom & Debbie Shapiro Career Resource Center (Shapiro CRC).
The Shapiro CRC is situated next to the Lee Wetherington Boys & Girls Club on Fruitville Road. This state-of-the-art facility empowers teens to explore careers and plan for the future and success after high school graduation with programs in vocational training such as carpentry, plumbing, coding, culinary, automotive technology and music and video production. The facility is also the hub for college and career prep programs, as well as, leadership development and entrepreneurial training.
"Growing up, I was unaware of what I wanted to do in life. With access to the Shapiro CRC, I was given many opportunities to learn new skills and find a career that I would actually enjoy doing," says Tyanna. "The Shapiro CRC is a place for inspiration. From the variety of vocational classes available to the motivational staff members, the Shapiro CRC is a place for developmental skills and future careers to arise."
Tyanna's favorite vocational training programs in the Shapiro CRC were Culinary Arts and Carpentry.
"In the Culinary Arts program, I created healthy meals using fresh ingredients that are budget friendly," she says. "In Carpentry, I learned how to work with raw material like wood, measure, cut and use machinery that I never would have had the chance to use otherwise."
All vocational tracks at the Shapiro CRC are led by professionals in the industry. Teens learn the tricks of the trades straight from the experts.
"I really loved building all kinds of projects in Carpentry," Tyanna says. "We'd map out our vision and end with go karts, bird houses, longboards, bookshelves and so much more. We actually donated those bookshelves to our younger Club members' homework rooms."
As a high school student, Tyanna looked forward to her next chapter and continued taking advantage of everything the Shapiro CRC had to offer that would prepare her for postsecondary education from SAT/ACT prep, financial aid workshops, meetings with our College and Career Coach and scholarship support through the Student Scholarship Management System (SSMS).
With support from the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and in collaboration with Take Stock in Children, students can work alongside a trained professional to access the SSMS database, which has around 500 local, national and institutional scholarships valued at $60 million.
"The SSMS was crucial in finding funding for college," she says. "After I loaded all of my information, its database searched for scholarships that I qualified for based on my credentials. From there, the system helped me track deadlines and my application progress. It's a great, efficient tool that is ultimately helping me pay for my schooling."
In addition to the SSMS, Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties has college scholarships available for Club members thanks to generous donors and long-time partners including the Drs. Robert and Patricia Endowed Scholarship at Duquesne University; the Steven and Marjolaine Townsend Scholarship in collaboration with Take Stock in Children; the Dick and Lorraine Vitale Scholarship; the Shannon Staub Excellence in Leadership Award; and more. Click here to learn more about our scholarships for aspiring college students.
"Not only did the Shapiro CRC expose me to different career opportunities and resources, but it introduced me to people that had similar interests who were also focused on their future like me," says Tyanna. "I sometimes find it difficult to find friends who enjoy the same things I do, but through the Shapiro CRC, I felt the most comfortable to express myself and have shared experiences."
Tyanna gained lifelong friendships, built leadership skills and successfully planned for her future at the Shapiro CRC.
"With the help of the Boys & Girls Club and the programs in the Shapiro CRC, I have grown more confident in networking and building relationships that could benefit in my future career goals."
With her degree, Tyanna sees herself owning a business and inspiring younger generations along the way.
"In today’s society, you do not see many women, specifically within the Black community, owning their own medical firms," she says. "I want to change that and open my own dermatology or plastic surgery practice in the future."
Tyanna is just one of the thousands of alumni whose path to greatness started at The Club.
You can do it, too! Start your own plan for the future and pave your way to success.