Paying it forward.
That was the response Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago (BGCC) alumnus Jasmin Rosales-Montas and Belem Paramo had when asked why they wanted to give back to the True Value Boys & Girls Club in their post-Club life.
“(The Club) just poured so much into me that I can’t imagine having a successful career without their support,” Rosales-Montas said. “It’s all about paying it forward and giving back. It is so rewarding to do something for someone else.”
“I deeply understand the impact a place like (the Club) can have on someone's life, especially for children in the neighborhood who may have fewer resources available to them,” Paramo said. “Being part of a group of like-minded individuals who come together and work toward a common goal fills my heart with immense love and joy.”
Rosales-Montas and Paramo are both members of the True Value Club Council, which is comprised of dedicated individuals invested in the BGCC mission, and support its members by galvanizing resources, support, expertise, volunteers and guidance. Rosales-Montas has been on the council since 2017, and Paramo since 2020.
At BGCC, Club alumni are so important because they illustrate the Club's impact on every member who joins our Clubs. In fact, Rosales-Montas was one of the first members to join the new BGCC Alumni Network, which launched this summer.
“Just telling your story is so important,” Rosales-Montas said. “Drawing attention to the mission and elevating your experience is one way you can support the Club. I feel like sometimes people get a little scared by the commitment of giving back, but it really can be as much or as little as you can make room for – anything is such a help to the Clubs.”
And True Value Club Director Fernando Lopez loves it when he sees former Club members return to the Club.
Rosales-Montas knew her skills as a Director of Public Affairs at Teach For America would translate well into being an advocate for the Club. She said her favorite part about being an alum is going back to the Club and interacting with the current Club kids.
“It’s been really energizing,” Rosales-Montas said. “Fernando is very intentional on the information he provides us and how we can best support him. It’s really rewarding to see how far the Club has come since I was a member. It’s all just very motivating to me to support him and the staff so they can support the youth.”
Paramo is a National Schools Account Manager at American Massage Therapy Association, and credited the Club for helping her learn English, as Spanish was her first language. She still sees the impact the Club has made on her to this day.
“I can confidently say that many of the lessons and skills I learned at the club have seamlessly carried over into both my professional and personal life,” Paramo said. “The experiences and values gained from my time there continue to shape me as an individual today.”
Both former Club members believe it is important to give back as alumni, and not just monetarily. It can be your time, your expertise or your resources.
“Elevating your experience is one impactful way you can support the Clubs,” Rosales-Montas said.