“It was really encouraging that we had this outreach from students,” says Roberts, a senior from Syracuse. “I had no idea there was this many people willing to volunteer. They’re not getting paid; they’re doing it because they want to make a difference.”
Roberts knows about making a difference. He started at the Boys and Girls Club shortly after transferring to Binghamton from the University of Albany after his freshman year.
“He does hard work, but he always takes the time to give back to the community around him,” says Jeff Horowitz, assistant director of Dickinson Community, who has worked with Roberts on campus.
Roberts eventually became a site manager for the Boys and Girls Club: he makes sure that each of the sites that operate out of Binghamton’s elementary schools and the main facility on Washington Street has enough staff. Roberts also keeps tabs on the children in the program.
“It’s nice because I get to see the administrative side of running such a massive after-school program,” he says. “It’s just so far-reaching in the city, because every Binghamton elementary school has one. Each school has a different personality. No two are alike.”
Roberts’ duties with the Boys and Girls Club take up 20 hours a week, he says. He also serves as an RA in College-in-the-Woods, a Nature Preserve guide on weekends and has at times spent three mornings a week interning at Binghamton General Hospital, where the biology major helped in the operating room “seeing what a hospital is like from the inside.”
Roberts is hopeful that whatever career he chooses will improve the lives of youth. For now, his goal is to get 60-100 new student volunteers who will serve as mentors and lead reading and homework groups at the Boys and Girls Club. This will help cut the child-to-adult ratio and allow for innovative programs, he says.
“This is definitely going to be a long-term project,” he says. “The Boys and Girls Club isn’t going anywhere. Binghamton University isn’t either. We’re hoping to keep a lasting relationship.”
Last Updated: 12/2/09