Faithful Service to Frederick’s Youth

Boys & Girls Club of Frederick County is Leveling Up in its Service to Our Youth

Article by Arliss Veldmuizen

Photography by Marie Rose Photography

Originally published in Frederick Lifestyle

The Boys and Girls Club of Frederick County (BGCFC) has been investing in our youth since 2002. Starting as a single location under the supervision of the Boys and Girls Club of Washington County, it now has four locations. The growth alone is proof: their commitment to the kids of Frederick County is fierce; and their new executive director, Timika Thrasher, only plans to up the ante.

Hailing from the Bronx, Timika grew up as a Boys and Girls Club kid herself. Raised by a hard-working single mother who needed a safe place for her children after school, the local Club became like a second home for her and her brother. Far more than a place to pass the time, it was a life-changing environment in which volunteers invested wholeheartedly in her, and where she gained skills and experiences she wouldn’t have otherwise. Her gratitude for this organization runs deep, and she’s passing it on as she steps into her new role with big passion and big plans to serve the kids of Frederick.

Catering to elementary and middle school children, BGCFC already offers so much to local youth. In addition to an incredible summer program, it offers a robust after-school program that includes everything from transportation, to homework help, to snacks, to a variety of activities. Still, while their offerings are plentiful, Timika is aiming higher. Why? Because the kids deserve it, and their families are depending on it.

“…what keeps me going is that we’re making an impact…there are families that need us; so if we stop doing the work that we’re doing, there are families that will not have a backup plan– will not have another option,” she explained.

And so, with her heart set on being faithful to the families and kids they serve, Timika’s vision for 2024 is "leveling up." In her own words, she expanded:

“…how are we providing the largest impact in the community?…it looks like making sure that we’re embracing change and that we’re thinking outside the box…how do we cultivate this environment where we’re bringing kids from all different backgrounds and all different socioeconomic statuses…it’s about bringing the kids together and being able to absorb what each other has to offer…”. 

It’s an ambitious goal, but she’s not watering it down. Instead, Timika and her team are getting creative by not only working together, but also collaborating with others in the Frederick community in fresh and innovative ways to both reach more youth in the area and provide new opportunities to their current Club kids. The most recent collaboration? Hosting a student art workshop in partnership with local artist Yemi Fagbohun.

Yemi, an award-winning, international artist now based in Frederick, is the mastermind behind the Annual African Americans of Excellence Exhibit (AAOE) 2024—a project born from his passion for bringing the community together. 

“...I like the idea of telling the stories of the people whose stories have not been told,” Yemi explained. “…and so the question was…how do we celebrate these people? One way I know how to do that is through art… actually brings the community together.”

After great success in the Exhibit’s first year in February 2023, Yemi brought together community stakeholders to make it an annual tradition—with a goal to expand each year. For 2024, Yemi expanded the exhibit to include youth from Frederick County to create some of the portraits. With Timika on his advisory board, they recognized a perfect collaborative opportunity: Timika would spread the word to students throughout Frederick, Yemi would coach and instruct the students, and the Club would provide the workshop location. And so, on Saturday, November 11th, in the vibrant space of the Burck Street location, about 30 local students—from various public, private and homeschool backgrounds—crafted beautiful portraits of the AAOE 2024 Honorees with Yemi’s expert guidance and encouragement.

“...each student received my instruction and took it to the next level. They did things that I wasn't even expecting; things that I wouldn’t have even envisioned…” Yemi explained.

It was an incredible experience that benefited everyone involved: Yemi procured the artwork for the AAOE 2024, the students cultivated their art skills under the guidance of a professional and will have their art publicly displayed and the Club expanded its reach to new young faces previously unfamiliar with them.

As for leveling up in its service to Frederick County’s youth, they’re off to a good start.

"What keeps me going is that we’re making an impact."

Timika Thrasher, CEO, Boys & Girls Club of Frederick County

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