Rubi Gastelum-Plata at front desk of Rockwood Club

The Clubs Change Lives. I’m Proof.

— by Rubi Gastelum-Plata, Director of Youth & Family Services

Throughout my life, I’ve been blessed with opportunities by the Boys & Girls Clubs. I grew up in the Clubs and have now been a staff member for over five years.

Growing up in the Boys & Girls Club impacted not just my life, but the lives of my family members. The Club made it possible for my family to thrive. When my mom needed a safe place for my brothers and me to be while she worked, she always looked to the Club.

Rubi attended the Wattles Boys & Girls Club, where she was encouraged to get involved in the Lents community.

Wattles Boys & Girls Club

We adapt our services to what kids need by providing social emotional learning, skill building, and a safe place to make mistakes, learn, and grow. We’re one of very few organizations working with young people as they grow from first grade to adulthood.

I know that what we do works. I’ve seen firsthand how the Clubs impacted my family, my life, and the lives of the families we serve.

As a child, I was very quiet. The encouragement of Club staff helped me break out of my shell and gain confidence in speaking to others at science camps, Blazer games and girl empowering workshops. The Club was a safe space for me to grow and gain skills that I still use today. As a teen, staff encouraged me to be a voice in my community by becoming a member of the Lents Public Advisory Committee. Opportunities like these were truly life changing and helped shape the person I am today.

Today, I have the honor of leading a team of committed staff who provide wrap-around services to youth and families in the Portland metro. Growing up in the Clubs inspired me to do more for my community by returning to the organization as a role model for the next generation. Just like my Club staff were for me.

Sincerely yours,

Rubi Gastelum-Plata
Director of Youth & Family Services
Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland Metro

If my story inspires you, please consider making a gift to the Boys & Girls Clubs this holiday season. When you give, you’re not just supporting academics, sports, or a daily meal program; you’re supporting programs and services that serve the whole child.