Greensboro, N.C. -- A freshman in high school says he would not be the young man he is today, if it weren't for the Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club of Greensboro.
Josh Smith is a student at the Early College at NC A&T, but the Girls & Boys Club was the place where he spent the majority of his time growing up.
"It's been instrumental in my life since I was 6-years-old," said Smith. "The club closes around 7 p.m., so that time frame when I'm in the club, I don't have to worry about being sexually active or being involved in gang violence, because I'm at the Boys & Girls Club spending my time in a positive way," he explained.
He thanks his mentor at the Boys & Girls Club along with his mother for their guidance and direction.
"Mr. Moton taught me how to deal with certain emotions and stress from my father not being in my life, so we made that connection at the Boys & Girls Club. He was able to help me physically, mentally and definitely spiritually," explained Smith.
But there's no greater motivator than mom. "She encourages me in so many ways that she doesn't know. Just seeing her strive and push through things that doesn't look like there's going to be a way out, really encourages me and shows me the faith that she has and the faith that I need to have.Train up a child in the way that he should go and she really is training me up in the way that I should go."
On Thursday, April 24, 2014 the Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club of Greensboro will hold its annual Pratt Family Fundraising Gala to further its mission to help young men and women grow into academically and socially responsible young people.
Jamie Cooper, the Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Club explained the importance of this event.
"Our club is serving a demographic which represents 80% of our club members being below the poverty level as well as being from single family homes so the Boys & Girls Club is there to provide a support group for those kids," said Cooper.
"The Gala will feature the kids performing on stage, but they'll get to have a moment of pride and celebrating their success academically and in character and citizenship," he said.
You can help support the Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club by attending the Pratt Family Gala on Thursday, April 24, 2014 at the Koury Convention Center beginning at 6 p.m.
This is the group's third largest fundraiser. Tickets are $100. You can find more information online at www.greensborobgc.org.