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Boys and Girls Club to launch $10M capital campaign

By Christopher Roberson - Staff Writer | May 9, 2024

Craig Fitzgerald, executive director of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Nashua, delivered his remarks during the annual Youth of the Year and Hall of Fame celebration on May 8. Telegraph photo by CHRISTOPHER ROBERSON

NASHUA – For the first time in 15 years, the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Nashua will initiate a $10 million capital campaign to address the changing needs of the hundreds of children who consider the club a second home.

Executive Director Craig Fitzgerald said that thus far, $6.2 million has been raised to fund the Power of YOUth campaign. The campaign will target the need for expanded childcare, food security and mental health services.

“We’re going to build out a dedicated mental health suite,” Fitzgerald said during the club’s annual Youth of the Year and Hall of Fame celebration on May 8.

Regarding food security, Fitzgerald said the club currently distributes 45,000 free meals per year. However, once the kitchen renovations are completed, that number will soar to 75,000 meals per year.

“From front to back, we’re going to revolutionize this building,” he said.

In addition, Fitzgerald spoke about his time as a club member from 1985 to 1995 and the unbreakable bond he had with the club’s staff. He said he still remembers the staff member who took him to Fenway Park for his first Boston Red Sox game. Fitzgerald also said that when his father passed away, his swimming instructor took the time to attend the funeral.

Four benefactors and youth advocates were also inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame. They included Richard and Linda and Lovering, the late Dr. Robert Moheban and Joseph Maryanski.

“We put on social media that Joe was being inducted and the thing blew up,” said Fitzgerald.

He said that during his 10 years as a member, he personally witnessed the achievements of the Loverings and Moheban.

Andrew Davenport said he was a “disenfranchised kid” growing up in foster care.

That all changed after he found the Boys and Girls Club and he is now a program manager at BAE Systems.

“The Boys and Girls Club pushed me to be a better person,” said Davenport. “I feel like I’m a decent human being and a contributing member of society.”

Xiadani De Le Lima, a senior at Nashua High School South, received the Youth of the Year award, the club’s highest honor.

De Le Lima and her parents immigrated to Nashua from Mexico during the summer of 2017. At the time, she was just 10 years old and the idea of moving to America was daunting to say the least. De Le Lima only knew a few words in English and had absolutely no idea how she could ever be successful in an American school system.

However, her fears were quelled a few months later when her parents brought her to the club.

Although De Le Lima had no other family in the United States, the club quickly filled that void.

“Blood does not define a family, love does,” she said.

During the past seven years, the club has become a second home for De Le Lima, assisting her with developing leadership skills, building relationships, getting a job and applying to college.

“They taught me how to be an advocate,” she said.

Now 17, De Le Lima will graduate high school on June 10 with plans to become a respiratory therapist.

In addition to playing field hockey, De Le Lima is the president of Health Occupation Students of America, Best Buddies and Student Language Assistance.

Having also won the New Hampshire State Youth of the Year contest, De Le Lima will represent the Granite State in the regional competition next month in New York City.


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