A mature 5 year old, Tamara joined the Boys & Girls Clubs of Rochester a year before the official age of enrollment. Her 13 years spent at the Club on Genesee Street were filled with great memories and experiences that she’ll never forget. “I remember melting down when the Club would be closed,” said Tamara.

During her membership at the Club, Tamara especially enjoyed participating in Summer Vacation Club, Ultimate Journey Club and Young Women of Action. Summer Vacation Club included field trips and seeing more of the community. In Ultimate Journey Club, members took on leadership roles and performed service projects.

Young Women of Action, a partner program with the University of Rochester, was Tamara’s favorite. Girls between the ages of 10 and 12 had the opportunity to meet women studying in college and learn about their different career paths. She still has a bear she received from one of the women she met.

“Young Women of Action was most influential because we got to see women pursuing their dreams through higher education,” she said.

After graduating from the Club, Tamara went on to pursue a degree in sociology at SUNY Geneseo. The people she interacted with and her exposure to society while at the Club inspired her to want to continue to engage with people of different backgrounds.

After holding several positions as a relief worker and counselor at different area organizations, Tamara went on to get her Masters in Social Work through the Greater Rochester Collaborative Program between Nazareth College and SUNY Brockport.

Currently a social worker at Children’s School of Rochester, Tamara has worked in the Rochester City School District for seven years. She also works per diem on cases at Strong Memorial Hospital’s Emergency Department. 

The Club helped Tamara learn several lessons about accountability, structure and responsibility – just to name a few – which she still uses today.

“The Club provided me with so many meaningful interactions at such an important time in my life,” she said.


Tamara Sheppard, Club alum