BOSTON (WWLP) – A national organization is helping shape young people’s lives in western Massachusetts.The Boys and Girls Club is giving young people a place to achieve academic success, play sports and develop leadership skills. One Westfield high schooler told 22News the club helped him overcome obstacles as a child.State legislators and Boys and Girls Club members highlighted the organization’s impact at an advocacy day at the State House Thursday.
Westfield State Representative John Velis said the Boys and Girls Club helped shape his life. He played basketball with Westfield’s Boys and Girls Club in his youth and later became a mentor to Gabe Santos.The Westfield High School senior was named this year’s Youth of the Year for his leadership, service and academic excellence.
Santos found a support system through the club which helped him to overcome troubles he was dealing with at home.He hopes to inspire others to do the same.“It’s been a second home where I can really be my true self and really help others and inspire them to be their greatest selves,” Santos told 22News.Santos has big dreams to become a surgeon someday.