This former Club kid credits the Club for the support and care she needed, and now she wants to pay it forward. (Picture L to R: Donata Martin, Executive Director BGC Fitchburg and Leominster, Laura Jenny, and Jon Blodgett, Teen Center Director)
This post is part of a “Where Are They Now” series highlighting Youth of the Year who have gone on to become leaders, innovators and problem-solvers who now shape our world.
Club alumni like Laura Jenny are using foundational skills they learned at Boys & Girls Clubs to make a difference in their communities and globally. As a Club kid, Laura’s love of academics, the arts and passion for social justice were nurtured through the diverse programming and caring staff at the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster in Massachusetts.
Now a junior at Harvard University, the versatile 20-year-old is often found staring down the lens of a microscope in the university’s Naomi Pierce Lab, where she studies the role of pests in crop failure and food shortages. Or you may find her performing theatre- and film-inspired compositions as a violinist with the Harvard Pops Orchestra. Laura also recently visited Australia to study tropical biodiversity.
“My Club gave me opportunities to [practice] science and math and fostered curiosity and a love of learning,” says Laura, an Integrative Biology major with a secondary focus in Global Health and Health Policy. “It [also] gave me a safe space to practice violin and express myself artistically.”
Club mentors inspired Laura to stand up for what she believed in. In high school, she co-founded a program that taught kids how to interact safely with police and reduce tensions between the two groups. In 2016, she was named Massachusetts State Youth of the Year for her leadership and volunteerism in the Boys & Girls Club and service to the community.