Cara O’Kray is playing basketball with some of the younger children at The Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club of Shreveport, Louisiana. They are each taking shots for themselves, missing some and making others. It’s a way to learn and grow together. Cara is helping to work with the younger kids. It is a leadership role, but also an opportunity to help draw out some of those kids that are uncomfortable in new surroundings.
Cara’s service to others includes being a part of the community within the Boys and Girls Club. Aside from working at the front desk, “I help to prepare meals and I help collect the little kids,” Cara says. It’s an effort that is only a part of the time she has spent serving the community with The Boys and Girls Club. “I volunteered over the holidays at The Salvation Army by helping serve food to the homeless, army veterans, and families. Only good things come from this lifestyle. The Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club encourages academic excellence,” she says.
“Last summer when I first started volunteering here, I noticed that some kids were kind of in their shell. But as the summer went on, they become more open with the kids around them and with me too,” says Cara. Learning how to work with younger people has helped her on her journey. “I’d like to give those kids a voice. To help guide kids who don’t feel comfortable discussing their problems,” she says. A high school psychology course led to an interest in serving others’ emotional well-being. Following that interest will lead to attending LSU after graduating from high school, seeking a degree in Psychology so that she can help other children like those she has been working with at The Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club. “I want to give those kids a voice. Those who are scared to come out about problems that they are going through,” says Cara
The Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club offers an opportunity for young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens. For some kids it is a place of learning and personal development. For others the Boys and Girls Club can open a window into opportunities that they may not have considered. For Cara O’Kray it has become a place where she found a new perspective on her future.