At the heart of every Club are caring mentors dedicated to making a difference for kids and teens. Our Club professionals empower and inspire the youth they serve through deep connections and nurturing relationships. They bring out the most in kids by understanding where they come from and helping to shape their path toward a great future. They show up every day to prove that every kid has what it takes.
IT’S NOT A JOB. IT’S A CALLING.
Our Club Executive Team insures that the Club reaches its mission, helping make sure kids feel safe, supported, and recognized. With more than TK years of experience at the Club between them, their commitment is clear.
Emily Varela / Key West Club Program Director
Emily moved from Miami to Key West in 2012 and began her work as Program Director two years later. The nurturing and dedicated new mom (she welcomed a baby boy into the world Spring 2018 and “can’t wait for him to be a member!”) loves putting smiles on Club member’s faces, and hopes they always feel loved around her. “We are always here to help our members and their parents on a day-to-day basis, keeping the children in a safe and positive environment.” Swimming and boating are her special interests.
Melissa Avila-Dacey / Teen Center Director
Melissa began her work with the Club in 2017 after moving to the Keys 2 years prior. Her experience spans teaching summer camps and afterschool programs to assistive technology and administration, and is currently completing her Bachelors of Science in Information Technology at Broward College— a perfect fit for working with today’s teens. The native Floridian loves “showing our Boys & Girls Club youth the opportunities life has to offer,” and hopes the Club will continue to be a positive foundation for the community’s children and their families. She also loves singing, photography, and raising monarch butterflies.
Sydney Marrs / Big Pine Key Assistant Program Director
Sydney brings her experience as a former Club member, volunteer, and now staff leader to support members in Big Pine Key. “What I like best about working for the Boys & Girls Club is being a positive role model and helping children recognize their strengths, like the staff did for me when I attended,” she says. “These children are our future, and we need to support them and give them the tools they need to succeed.” She is currently pursuing a degree in Childhood development, and spends her free time playing in the sea and making art in its various forms.
Youth Development Professionals
Club professionals have trained in implementing programs that bring out the best in kids and help them accomplish their goals. Staff are committed to providing opportunities to young people and delivering a safe, fun and positive environment for members. They also serve as role models and mentors, forming deep connections with the kids and teens they work with on a daily basis. Staff lead by example, teaching members to be upstanding citizens, so that when young people leave the Club they take positive values with them into the community.
Lauren Demree / Youth Activities Coordinator
Native Key Wester Lauren has worked in the Monroe County School system since 2001 and joined the Boys & Girls Club team in 2017. She values the sense of security and safety the Club provides its’ members, and appreciates that they did not charge fees to support those recovering from Hurricane Irma. “This job feels like family,” she says. When outside the Club, you can find her swimming, bowling, and growing orchids.