In any organization, diverse outlooks create an opportunity for learning and growth that provide a better understanding of one another. Having leadership from different backgrounds brings a fresh perspective to an organization and creates a more inclusive and nurturing environment for all.
The new Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Richmond President and CEO, Sean Miller, takes pride in his commitment to youth and family engagement, which has spanned the past 20 years in the City of Richmond.
Named the first Black president of Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Richmond (BGCMR), Miller has a passion for working with the local youth and inspiring them to reach their full potential through innovation and advocacy. Before becoming president and CEO of BGCMR in early 2023, he served as its chief operating officer for eight years. Through his longstanding work with the organization, Miller has helped serve roughly 15,000 kids and counting.
Today, Miller assists 1,800 youth and more than 50 staff members across the five Metro Richmond facilities. He’s working to foster the growth and direction of BGCMR by empowering young people, especially those from historically marginalized communities, to reach their full potential. We caught up with him to learn more about his new role.
How would you describe the core mission of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Richmond?
Our mission is to empower youth, especially those from historically marginalized communities, to succeed in life. We offer year-round programming during out-of-school time for youth in third through 12th grade. In addition to providing the essentials youth need – safety, caring mentors and homework help – we continue to provide innovative programs that allow youth to create, discover and explore.
What is something most people are generally unaware of when it comes to your program and the community you serve?
Our work goes far beyond traditional after-school programming to target holistic youth development. A wide variety of programs in the areas of personal health, post-graduation goal planning, career exploration, civic engagement and academic success allow youth to have ownership of their future. This focus on holistic youth development allows us to cater to the individual needs of our youth and help them be successful, well-rounded individuals – now and as adults.
Additionally, our programs are driven by what our Club members want to experience. In each session, new programs are offered so that youth are constantly given chances to explore. Programs ranging from areas like fashion design and podcasting, to entrepreneurship and robotics, make finding passion and potential accessible and exciting for youth.
How do volunteers and donors help the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Richmond?
Donors and volunteers help us expand the opportunities we can offer youth and are a vital part of our work. Volunteers may assist program staff with daily tasks that support the functionality of our Clubs or may expose youth to new passions and skills. The support of our donors truly changes the odds for the youth in our community. Donations allow us to offer low-cost programming, innovative experiences, transportation and so much more. As volunteers and donors, our board of directors provides instrumental guidance and leadership that furthers our mission and impact as an organization.
Can you characterize the extent of the problem Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Richmond addresses?
While our everyday work gives youth a safe place where they can explore, our efforts are driven by the ultimate result of what we want for all youth – increased equity and opportunities. We know that youth from historically marginalized communities face inequities in health, academics and employment and we work to change the standard of living that these young people are offered. We primarily serve low- to moderate-income families from underserved communities in Richmond and Petersburg. We know that youth in these communities have barriers that negatively impact their life, and we work to remove those each day, while also working towards a future where there are no barriers to success.
If $100,000 fell from the sky tomorrow, how would Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Richmond spend it?
As we continue to increase the opportunities available to youth, our decisions are always driven by youth input. We know that our youth in Petersburg need a permanent facility that will allow them to truly maximize their potential. We are also exploring workforce development and how to increase the employability of our youth. Additional funding would allow us to turn these two dreams into a reality.