There are many words to describe Rugamba, but one sticks out the most — grateful. Rugamba genuinely appreciates all the opportunities the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix (BGCMP) has provided for him. Most importantly, he recognizes the Club has shaped who he is today and allowed him to form some great relationships with mentors and friends. He is the perfect example of BGCMP’s mission to shape productive, caring, responsible citizens.
Q. How long have you been going to the Peoria Branch?
A. I’ve been going to the Peoria Branch for five years.
Q. What activities or programs are you a part of at the Club?
A. I was one of the Treasurers in Keystone Club, which consisted of taking care of money, knowing how much we’re making, how much we are spending and how much we need in order to meet certain goals we set for ourselves. I also play basketball at the Club.
Q. How has the Club helped you in other aspects of your life?
A. The Club has helped me tremendously throughout my school life. I had fine resources and people that could help me with projects I was assigned. Coming from a low income family, it was important to have the free lunch and dinner offered at the Boys & Girls Club during the summer and dinner during the school year. It helped balance out my needs. For sports, I got to be exposed to great coaches, teachers and mentors.
Q. You were chosen as a Youth of the Year (YOY) finalist. How do you feel about that? What does that entail?
A. Being chosen as the YOY finalist was one of the most incredible things that I’ve been a part of. Being in that position, I knew that all the work that was put into place was never for me. It was for my younger siblings and younger generation to prove if I’ve gone through what I have and came out on top, you can do the same—if not, better!
Q. What advice would you give to younger kids about succeeding in life?
A. If you’re willing to put in the work and late nights, success tastes better when you receive the reward. Success helps you know who you are, where you are, and where you could be.
Q. What’s your favorite thing about attending the Club?
A. My favorite thing about attending the Club is the fact that everyone knows everyone. It feels like a family atmosphere. I’m able to talk with my Teen Specialist and relate to how he/she overcame the struggles they faced and how they deal with them. I learn from them.
Q. What would you be doing if you didn’t have the Club?
A. If I wasn’t a part of the Boys & Girls Club, I would be lacking the many leadership skills I’ve developed and the relationships I’ve built with other people. I really wouldn’t be much of a speaker or be more open to other people.
Q. What are your future plans?
A. I plan to attend Grand Canyon University and study Business and Sports Marketing. Later, when I graduate with my Bachelor’s Degree, I hope to open a sports related business of my own one day.
Q. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
A. Thank you to the entire Peoria Staff for taking the time they do to help kids learn and develop every day.
Rugamba Mbanza attends Peoria High School. He is in the 12th grade.