KISS-TORY REPEATS ITSELF
When Debbie Peele Glaser was a four-year-old girl, she would longingly watch her older brother, Greg, go off to the Boys Club on East Colonial Drive, where he was a member. Not only was she not old enough for membership, she was the wrong gender. Although many Boys Clubs would start including girls in the ensuing decades, the organization didn’t officially become Boys & Girls Clubs until 1988. In the early 60s, Debbie could only enjoy the stories that Greg brought home from Club–the friendships made, the new skills learned, the adventures taken.
That is, until one day, April 16, 1962, to be exact, when Debbie would have her big chance. The Club, looking for a way to satisfy the families with girls begging to accompany their brothers, staged a “Little Sister Parade.” Debbie scrubbed her face and hands, brushed her hair, and put on her finest frock.
“I was beyond excited,” she recalls.
During the parade, the little sister who elicited the loudest applause would be awarded the “Cutest Little Sister.” 56 years later, Debbie demurs that “I’m sure my mother must have clapped the loudest,” but as the photo shows, Debbie earned the honor fair and square. Brother Greg awarded her with a kiss.
Flash forward half a century, and Debbie and her family moved back to Central Florida from Washington, D.C. Her son, Gabe Glaser, wanted to work in child development, having loved mentoring children from the troubled Anacostia neighborhood during his teen years. He applied for an open Program Assistant position at our East Altamonte Branch, and was hired by Service Director Stephanie Aguguo.
Ms. Stephanie says of Gabe, “he is absolutely marvelous with the kids–he can really relate to them and make them feel valued. In just a few short months, he has become their favorite staff member. They all love Mr. Gabe.”
And for her part, Debbie couldn’t be more thrilled to have her son at BGCCF. This week, to mark National Boys & Girls Clubs Week, she visited Gabe at work, and spoke to the children there about when the Boys Club was only boys, and about her glorious reign as the “Cutest Little Sister.” The club members were rapt with attention listening to tales from the “good old days.”
Before she left, Ms. Stephanie told Debbie she was welcome back to the Club anytime,
with or without her crown. All of us are delighted to have Gabe, and his mother, as part of the BGCCF family!