My name is Crystal DuPont and I am 24 years old. I became a member of the Bright House Spring Hill Boys & Girls Club in elementary school when my mother was looking for a new after school program for me to participate in. I was unhappy in my previous after school care program and our club director Mrs. Althea Ross Chavers approached my mom and convinced her to let me give the Boys & Girls Club a try. The Bright House Springhill Boys & Girls Club was the match for me. It was a safe place to go after school when my mom was at work. I was able to get my homework done, participate in spelling bees, go to basketball games, and meet so many people I would not have met without being a Boys & Girls Club member. I was bullied in school, however having someplace to go where that was not tolerated and where I was encouraged to speak up for myself started me off on my journey to finding my voice. The Boys & Girls Club was a perfect addition to the support I had at home and my club director Mrs. Althea Ross Chavers became my extended family.
As I grew up in the “Club”, as we affectionately called it, I graduated from Deland High School the same week I graduated from Daytona State College with my Associate of Arts Degree, through the dual enrollment program in my high school. I then left to attend Florida State University where I took the skills, and love of service and education instilled in me at my Bright House Spring Hill Boys & Girls Club with me. I volunteered with several community service organizations at FSU and when I studied abroad in Valencia, Spain, I found a way to volunteer in a local clinic. After graduating from Florida State University with my Bachelor of Science in Biology and Spanish, I went on to graduate from the University of South Florida with my Master of Medical science.
Now, I am entering my first year as a medical student at New York Medical College pursuing my MD degree. I know that my Bright House Spring Hill Boys & Girls Club helped to lay the foundation for where I am now. I could have let bullying and “shyness” keep me from where I wanted to go. But I was encouraged to learn, ask all my questions, do new things, stand up for myself and believe that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me! I am proud of the Boys & Girls Club for all they do for children in similar and even worse situations than mine and I am specifically proud to have been a Bright House Spring Hill Boys & Girls Club kid!