Opportunity presented itself to Michelle Carrera while growing up in a housing project in Santurce, Puerto Rico. Now, as Executive Director of the Atlantic City Boys and Girls Club, her childhood opportunity is the spearhead of her ACBGC efforts.
“We had a Boys Club in our community; girls were only allowed to go to summer camp. But activities were arranged for the whole family, so the club was an agent of change. The club provided families with a chance to grow.”
Opportunity translated to an undergraduate degree in education and advanced degrees in leadership and management. Michelle began a career in education but quickly transitioned to operations director for clubs in Puerto Rico.
“Education and the club kept calling me. For me it’s a personal journey of paying back. Those four walls had the ability to transform and change paths for me.”
Now, passing on that same opportunity occupies a central plank in her vision for the club.
“The club needs to offer a safe space and to focus on academic outcomes. I want every kid who walks through our doors to have an opportunity to go to college or develop a skill to have a career and economic mobility. The support is there from our stakeholders.”
Besides the social and educational aspects of the club’s programs, Michelle takes personal satisfaction in work performed.
“The journey has been unbelievable. You feel the responsibility of actually providing an opportunity and believing in kids. There’s nothing like being present in the life of a child, not because you have to, but because you want to.”
Michelle Carrera has obviously transported opportunity from Santurce to Atlantic City.
-John “Yonk” Rosnick