So so excited to have our first We Choose Wednesday post by a good friend of mine, Chase O’Brien. Chase interviewed Luanne Smith who is the President of the Boys and Girls Club. Read more of her profile from Chase below. Lisa
My husband and I moved to Cheverly in 2004. At the time, we had no idea that Cheverly was a hidden gem. We now have three boys; Findley 7, Walker 5, and Grayson 2. I cannot imagine raising them anywhere else. We don’t have any biological family in the area, but we have some incredible friends in Cheverly who we consider family. It sounds so cliché, but I will write it anyways. We feel so blessed to live in this neighborhood!
One of my favorite things about Cheverly is that there are so many ways to become involved in our community. From the Cheverly Parents’ Resource Center to the Garden Club, there is something for everyone! Have you ever gone to our town’s website to see the list of all the community groups? There are tons – check it out: http://www.cheverly-md.gov/Pages/CheverlyMD_WebDocs/civic. And many more that aren’t even on that list.
What I appreciate most is that these groups exist because of the people who volunteer their time, talent and energy to lead. Cheverly is full of leaders. Over the next several weeks, in the series called, “Meet Our Leaders,” I will introduce you to some of these wonderful people.
A few weeks ago, on Cheverly Day, Mayor Callahan presented Cheverly’s Volunteer of the Year Award to Luanne Smith for her efforts to support the Cheverly Boys and Girls Club. I’ve seen Luanne around town, and I met her for the first time this year at my sons’ soccer banquet. However, it wasn’t until today that I actually had a conversation with her. Just as I imagined, Luanne is a wonderful person and I am so glad that I had this opportunity to chat with her. I’m excited to share what I learned!
Meet Your Neighbor: Luanne Smith, President of the Board of the Cheverly Boys and Girls Club
When did you move to Cheverly? 46 years ago! I grew up on Cheverly Circle. In 1998 I moved to Jason Street with my husband. In 2013 we bought our current home from my aunt and uncle who lived here for 44 years.
Why do you choose Cheverly? The sense of community. Proximity to my aging relatives. The Boys and Girls Club. The location – the ability to get anywhere in DC easily. My husband was in active duty on the air force base, so he could get there easily. But if you ask him, he would say, “She would give me no other choice!”
What do you do when you aren’t supporting the Boys and Girls Club? I teach 9th grade US History at Bowie High School. I also coach volleyball and softball. Before that, I was at Central High school for 14 years. (Note: if you google Luanne, you will quickly learn that she is really good at what she does. All kinds of articles pop up, including one that mentions she was named Coach of the Year!)
When did you start becoming involved with the Boys and Girls Club? I started playing sports with CBGC at age 8. At age 14 I coached mini soccer, and at age 16 I coached basketball and softball.
When and why did you join the board? Taking an active role in the community is engrained in me. My dad coached, mom volunteered at St. Ambrose School and church. She still helps out today when she can. I remember volunteering at a very young age with my dad. I helped him carry cinder blocks that he used to build the original stage at Town Park. (Side note and neat tid-bit that I learned – Luanne’s dad not only built the stage, but also the grill pit at the pool and the tennis wall!)
I joined the board in the early 90’s because I had a desire to make more of an impact. Giving children an opportunity to play on a sports team is important. It provides so many opportunities for growth, social development, learning life skills, and teaching sportsmanship. Learning how to win and lose is invaluable.
When and why did you become President of the Board? Before filling the role of president, I served on the board for 22 years. My predecessor stepped down two years ago. I didn’t want to see the club dissolve. CBGC has been important to my entire family. So I stepped up and hope that I can help the club to thrive again.
What do you love about this role and what do you find challenging? I love the interaction with people; the parents, the kids and the different community groups. One challenge is finding enough volunteers. It is difficult finding people who are willing to stay committed because it is a lot of work. Another challenge is getting parents 100% on board. We have a lot of eager children but unfortunately, lack of parent commitment interferes with the child’s success. For example, kids often don’t come to practice or even arrive to games late when it is out of their control. Commitment has to come from both the player and the parents.
What can the citizens of Cheverly do to help you ensure that the Cheverly Boys and Girls Club is a thriving organization? 1.) Volunteer! We always need coaches. We also have several vacancies on our board. (Note, if interested, contact Luanne directly at firstname.lastname@example.org 2.) Encourage your kids to participate. The more children we have, the better the program!
To learn more about the Cheverly Boys and Girls Club, visit the website: http://cheverlybgc.org. Thanks so much Luanne for chatting with me, and thank you Lisa for this fun opportunity!
Chase O’Brien along with her husband, Ian, moved to Cheverly in 2004. At that time, they had no idea that they had found a hidden gem. They now have three boys; Findley 7, Walker 5, and Grayson 2. Chase and Ian are members at Cheverly United Methodist Church where they serve in various roles, members at the Cheverly Pool, coaches with the Girls and Boy Club and Chase is the PTA President at Spellman Elementary.