BCNY Alumnus Lorenzo Bernardez recently addressed a group of BCNY supporters and shared his Boys’ Club story with them, excerpted below.
My name is Lorenzo Bernardez, I am 24 years old and I am a proud alumnus of BCNY’s Independent School Placement program. Through this educational prep program, I had the privilege of attending Suffield Academy for three great years.
Growing up as a young male in the South Bronx, life had its challenges. Gangs, drugs, and violence polluted the area. I had to grow up a lot faster than a normal child would, once even being assaulted by a group of teenagers at age eight. Nonetheless, I was grateful to have a strong family, great neighbors and an even greater support system at BCNY.
The transition to Suffield Academy might never have happened at all, and certainly would have been much more difficult, if it wasn’t for BCNY. I had never in my life been around so many great people doing such amazing things; at BCNY people from neighborhoods like mine were excelling in academics and sports. To me it was a no-brainer to become part of this great place and join ISP. The SSAT and SAT programs helped me navigate standardized tests. The ISP Prep [program] helped sharpen my academics, making me a better student. We [also] got to meet kids who already attended the schools where we were applying—that meant a great deal to me.
In no time, I was on Suffield Academy’s campus, excelling in all of my classes, playing baseball and even becoming head of the multi-cultural association and junior class president.
Since graduating from ISP, I have returned to BCNY as an employee, helping boys like me turn academic weaknesses into strengths. Now being on the other side of the fence, I see how important it is to have staff in these positions who really care about the wellbeing of the children.
Last year, I graduated from Post University in Connecticut, where I played baseball and graduated with a bachelor in business administration and a minor in sport management. [Today I’m in] the Public Service Management program at City College of New York.
I hope that this Master’s in Public Administration will allow me to better support my family. I hope that I can lead and inspire youth the way that I was led and inspired. But most importantly, I hope my MPA will lead to even more opportunities, further building on the foundation that The Boys’ Club of New York paved for me.
Thank you for helping young men like myself get the opportunity to overcome adversity and make their situations better for themselves and their families. You guys impact many communities and families across New York City. Thank you for being here and thank you for believing in the mission of The Boys’ Club of New York.