Boys Hope Girls Hope is an international non-profit organization across the U.S. and in several other countries. Their mission is to help at-risk, academically capable youth with attending and graduating college. It is a unique organization with a residential program and community-based program and I can say it is effective because I am an alumnus from the program. Growing up, school was always easy for me and I always got good grades and managed to avoid any serious trouble. I lived in the type of neighborhood where it was easy for trouble to find you, however, sports, good friends, my twin brother, and a single mother whom I didn’t dare dissapoint, kept me motivated to stay out of trouble. Whereas I knew school was important, I never knew how I would go to college. No one in my family had attended or graduated from college and my mother was the only one who ever mentioned it. One day, when I wasn’t so good at avoiding trouble, I had to have a parent visit with my school Principal. Near the end of the visit, when the discussion was nearly over, my mom randomly asked if the Principal knew of any programs that would allow her twin boys to attend Brophy College Prep, a private, all-boys, catholic, college-prep high school! The question was completely random, but coincidentally, the Principal knew the Director of the Boys Hope Girls Hope of Arizona organization and referred us.
You can imagine my lack of enthusiasm at the thought of an all-boys, private, catholic, college-prep high school. After an IQ test, an assessment from a Psychologist, summer school, and a 5-day home visit at the Boys Hope home, I was accepted into the program and Brophy College Prep. I am not going to lie – I hated it at first. Imagine living in a home with strangers and attending an all-boys school when all your childhood friends were going to the high school you were supposed to go to. I had no friends near me and a drastically different living situation with lots of structure including phone time, dinner time, and even a 2 hour mandatory study time! I would call my mom every night asking if I could leave. My mom would just tell me to try it for 2 more weeks. I would count down the days for the two weeks to be over and plea again to go back home but my mom kept saying, “just try it for a few more weeks.” After a few months of this back and forth, I had adjusted. The guys in the house on the same scholarship to Brophy became my friends and it helped a ton to have my twin brother there in the house with me.
I went from never being challenged in school during my K-8 experience to having 6 hours of homework a night at Brophy. Brophy is an amazing school and to this day, I still claim I learned more at Brophy than I ever did in college. I can’t even explain it but I credit them with teaching me how to think critically, how to challenge myself (and others), and how to overcome obstacles. Moreover, they instilled the value of service leadership with their school slogan to be “Men for Others.” I lived in the Boys Hope home for 4 years, graduated from Brophy College Prep, and went on to graduate from Arizona State University. This path began with a meeting with the Principal of my Jr. High and my mom asking if the Principal knew of any programs to help her twin boys go to Brophy. I am so glad my mom asked that question because it has shaped who I am as a person. My passion for education and community comes from my mom but it was reinforced through my experience at Boys Hope and Brophy.
It is an amazing experience to now serve on the Program Committee for the Boys Hope Girls Hope program. The only member with a perspective on what it was like to go through the program, I find the experience interesting. It has given me a more complete appreciation for the program, but more importantly, the people who make up the program including volunteers, staff, board members, and community members. The program has expanded since I lived in the home and I can’t believe how many lives they are able to touch. If you’re looking for a worthy cause to rally behind, I encourage you to check out the program and consider giving your support.