Meet Dan Brophy, Carter Lake Boys & Girls Club Alumni, who currently serves on the Board of Directors for a Boys & Girls Club in Ohio. We were lucky to chat with Dan recently about his time with the Clubs and why he chose to continue serving the organization in Ohio.
"I was first introduced to the Club in 1983 when I was 12 year’s old. My family was living in Northern California and my parents just divorced, so my mom moved my brothers and I back to Omaha to be near her family. She had no job and no money, so we needed government assistance to help us get by. She found a trailer park in Carter Lake and we were able to rent a trailer there as she looked for work" said Brophy.
It was when Dan joined the Clubs that he saw a different future ahead of him.
"The Club was a perfect place for me. I was a relatively shy kid, who had just moved across the country, I didn’t know anyone. I vividly remember walking into the Club for the first time, getting introduced to Tom and other staff, they welcomed me, introduced me to the other kids and helped me feel at home."
Dan talked about how hard it was for him to move to a new town while his parents were going through a divorce, he felt angry and would often get into fights.
"I really didn’t have an outlet for that anger, until I started going to the Boys Club. Playing sports gave me an outlet. I was never judged by the club. I didn’t have money for lunch or dinner, yet I was fed. I had clothes from the goodwill, but I was never judged. I was always accepted."
Dan found a comfort in the Clubs that was new to him. Dedicated and loving staff gave him direction and helped him grow into the man he is today! After a while, Dan grew from an angry and shy kid to young man who helped others in the ways he was helped when he first joined.
"I was involved in several leadership opportunities within the Club, especially in high school. I not only led sports teams in league play, I helped with volunteer events, and I had the opportunity to be a camp counselor during the summer. I have coached youth sports for my four kids over the past 15 years and many of the leadership traits I have, I attribute back to my days at the Club. In my career, I have had the opportunity to lead very large teams in branch banking and wealth management. My approach to leading people is customized to the individual. It’s very similar to how Tom Kunkle, (current CPO and former Unit Director), led the Carter Lake Club – each kid was different and needed to be understood. Patience and empathy were given to every kid and their situation. I take that same approach in my leadership roles."
Once Dan became a teenager, he was curious about his options for higher education but didn't know where to start. Like many times before, the Clubs were there for him.
""I truly believe that I would not be where I am today without Tom and the Club. They kept me out of trouble because I always had a sport to play and a place to go where I was safe and comfortable. Tom was also very supportive of my desire to go to college. Nobody in my family had ever gone to college, they really didn’t even know what it was. The Clubs prepared me financially and academically. I earned scholarships, which helped pay for college – without that financial assistance I would not have been able to attend."
The Clubs weren't just a place where Dan was able to meet friends, gain employment opportunities and prepare for college, but it became a life-long relationship.
"Both my nephew, Matthew, and my niece, Megan, attended the Carter Lake Club. Both have graduated from college now and got a lot of help from the Club in terms of scholarships. I feel extremely proud of them and my brother, Matt. He has gone through some very difficult times, yet, he knew that getting his kids involved in the Club would help them."
After seeing all that the Club had done for him while he was growing up, it was an obvious choice to seek to help the Clubs when he moved to Ohio.
"I have always wanted to give back to the Club. It’s interesting the perspective you gain as you get older. That time when we were so poor, watching my mom work three jobs to get off of welfare, waking up at 3am to 8 cops surrounding a guy right outside my window, the only thing I wanted to do after college was make money. There was a fear inside of me that I never wanted to be poor – and that I would never want my family to have to live like that. I was so determined to “not fail” in my mind. I advanced in my career and worked a ton to create financial security. When we started a family, my priorities shifted. I wanted to be a good father, something I never had. I now have time to give back. My first choice was Boys & Girls Club. I’m extremely excited to help this local Club!"
Dan now serves on the Board of Directors for a local Boys & Girls Club in Ohio, where he is able to share his expertise in business and finances while being able to help those who have been in his shoes.
"I don’t spend enough time reflecting back on those days, so I opened the flood gates a little bit. My story pales in comparison to the hardships that other people face. But it’s stories like mine, kids like I was, that need help. To be provided an environment that’s supportive, safe, healthy, accountable, encouraging – a second home that keeps them off the street and out of trouble. A place that encourages growth and improvement – that was the impact the Club had on me."
Thank you for everything you do Dan! Boys & Girls Clubs of the Midlands and the Carter Lake Club are proud to have you as an alumni and wish you all the luck in your new position on the board in Ohio!