Graduate: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
North Carolina State University
Occupation: Lab Tech at Radeas Labs
My name is Edith Rivera. I am first-generation Dominican American born in Boston, MA and raised in Raleigh, NC. A North Carolina native, I have lived here since the age of 4 and attended both the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for my undergraduate degree and North Carolina State University for my graduate degree. I currently work in a molecular laboratory and aspire to become a doctor someday. Some of my fondest hobbies include cycling, reading, and traveling!
- What made you excited to spend time at the Club?
As a middle school student at Ligon Middle School, I would go to the Raleigh Girls Club after school. There, I would often get to spend time with students from many different schools in the greater downtown area and make new friends. It was a time I could get ahead in my school work while participating in very engaging activities. Some of my favorite activities there include a cooking class offered by the Club. On one occasion, we were able to bake blueberry scones and have a tea party with everyone in attendance.
- My all-time favorite memory at the Club:
There are so many memories that it is hard to pick just one. Some of my fondest memories at the Club were throughout the summer when the Club members were out of school and as a staff member at the Brentwood Boys and Girls Club, I was able to spend the majority of the day with them. One hot summer day, we organized a water balloon fight for the entire Club. The kids had so much fun letting loose and playing with the staff. Afterwards, we rewarded with a popsicle party. Moments like this are just one of many where I truly felt like I was making an impact on my community. The Boys and Girls Clubs truly provides a positive outlet for adolescents, especially in Raleigh.
- The most valuable lesson I learned at the Club was:
The greatest lesson I have learned as both a member and staff at the Boys and Girls Clubs has been to be kind to others and to give each other grace. We truly do not know the battles that others are battling or going through, particularly at home, until we step into their shoes. The student who acts out during homework time may not be because they are an unruly kid, it may be because English is their second language and no one is able to help them with their school work at home.
- Describe what the Club meant to you in 3 words.
In 3 words I would describe the Club as a safe-haven, refuge, and a home.
- Tell us about a mentor or role model at the Club who inspired you.
My biggest mentor at the Club has been Pepe Caudillo, the director of the Brentwood Boys and Girls Club. At just 16 years old, he gave me the opportunity to work at the Club. Over the years, he transformed from my boss to a family friend. To this day, we still remain in contact and he has truly served as a role model to me and a pillar of the community.
- How did the Club impact your future?
My time, especially as a staff member, was the first time I was able to hone in on my leadership skills. Particularly competing as a candidate for Youth of the Year in my region helped me further my leadership skills and understand the importance of giving back to your community. These are values that I carried with me throughout school and now my professional career.
The Boys and Girls Club is family to me. I first attended the Boys and Girls Club with my older cousins and then when they were hired at the Brentwood Boys and Girls Club, I applied as well. Every member of my family has been a member and experience the benefits of the Club. I truly consider it a “family-business.”