By Nance Ebert, Contributing Writer
Marlborough – Stephan Barthold credits the Boys & Girls Clubs of MetroWest (BGCMW) for helping to shape him into the person he is today. For the past 11 years, Barthold has been a part of the club. He would go there each day after school for help with homework, to participate in team sports, and to socialize with peers.
“I always loved going there,” Barthold said. “There were always friends around and something to do. Their teen center is so cool and it is outfitted with a new TV, Xbox, air hockey and couches. We went on trips like to a Celtics game, saw movies and more.”
According to Barthold, the staff was instrumental in giving him the support, motivation and skills to become a leader himself. He was selected as this year’s BGCMW Youth of the Year, a recognition for hard work and outstanding achievements in school, the community and the club.
Barthold recently became a staff member in the afterschool program. There he works directly with other students each day and helps out with anything that is needed. He trained for a couple of years as a Counselor-in-Training (CIT) in their summer camp program. He will also be working this summer as a staff counselor at the Marlborough Clubhouse.
“Going to the club helped to keep me focused in school and on my behavior,” he explained. “I was occupied at all times. The staff was great and always motivated me and pushed me to be a better person. Because I basically grew up there, the Boys & Girls Club is like a second home to me.”
As Youth of the Year, Barthold had the opportunity to go to the State House in Boston, where he represented the organization and competed on a state level.
The 99 Restaurant in Marlborough held a small gathering to honor Barthold for his achievement. Since the restaurant chain is a sponsor of the Boys & Girls Clubs, he was also gifted with a $99 gift certificate to the restaurant.
Barthold will be attending Worcester Polytechnic Institute in the fall, majoring in computer science. His college essay was about the BGCMW and how it changed his life. He is so happy to be working there and grateful for the skills he has acquired.
“If it wasn’t for the Boys & Girls Club, I would not be as successful as I am today,” he said. “I can use all of the skills that I’ve learned here to be successful in the future. If I can change one kid’s life, I can make a difference.”