Today’s news, where racial issues dominate the headlines, doesn’t make much sense to Bill Friedrich. For his entire life, he’s worked, played and lived with people from many different races and many different experiences.
And it all started at Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida.
His parents divorced in the mid-1980s and summers were spent at his father’s house in Kissimmee, Fla. Like so many parents, Friedrich’s father worried about his son getting into trouble while he was at work, so he took him to the local Club.
Bill really enjoyed the game room and won a few championships during his years at the Club. He became involved in various sports at the Club and developed friendships with other boys throughout Osceola County. They stayed friends even when they were on opposite sides of the field during high school.
“The structure they provided was a very good thing because I don’t know what I would have ended up doing,” he says. “If I wasn’t going there, I would be out doing something stupid while my father was at work, getting into trouble with friends or simply sitting at home doing nothing and being lazy.”
Friedrich really points to his time at his Club for his understanding of people today.
I truly believe that the Boys & Girls Club helped me to learn to respect and value everyone,” he says.
“I grew up around varied backgrounds of race and religion. Many of the headlines in the news these days are frustrating, and the hatred that some people have in their hearts is difficult for me to comprehend.
It’s a lesson he hopes today’s Club members can take with them.
“Embrace the time you are there and learn from everyone you come in contact with, whether it is an instructor or another youth,” Friedrich says. “Get involved in different things, and stay involved in the Club.”