Robin Baldwin ’21 Creates a Brave Space for Teens

As a student, Robin Baldwin ’21 completed an internship for her psychology major with the Boys and Girls Club of Sutton, New Hampshire. When her internship ended, she knew she had a lot more to give to the organization. As a member of BOLD Women’s Leadership Network at Colby-Sawyer, a scholarship program funded by the Helen Gurley Brown Foundation for female, first-generation college students, Robin was eligible to apply for funding for a fellowship with the Boys and Girls Club.

She was awarded the fellowship to carry out a Boys and Girls Clubs of America program called Smart Girls, which is designed to boost girls’ self-esteem and increase their positive self-talk. She brought Smart Girls to Sutton during her internship and, in the summer following her graduation, to the Boys and Girls Club of Lunenburg (BGCL) in Massachusetts. When her fellowship ended, she stayed on in Lunenburg as an employee, accepting a position as a youth development specialist.

“I honestly fell in love with it,” Robin said. “We’re a teen center. We only work with sixth grade and up providing after-school and summer programming. We do a little bit of everything activities-wise, from every sport you can imagine to baking and cooking, never-ending art projects, Smart Girls Club and our newest addition, Bro Code, Dungeons & Dragons and even video games. We do it all for the kids.”

The Boys and Girls Club of Lunenburg tries to provide a “brave space” for teens, Robin explained, because they know that no space can be 100% safe. They work to create an environment where the kids are comfortable being themselves.

“We don’t know what they go home to, we don’t know the reputation they carry at school, and we don’t need to know,” Robin said. “We give them all the chances they think they deserve and then some. We’re a second home, a second family … Our goal is to make every child that walks through our doors know that they are important, welcomed, loved, and appreciated no matter what.”

Robin’s responsibilities at the BGCL expanded in November 2021 when the program director left, and she took on many of the vacated roles.

“So far within the organization I have run countless programs including Smart Girls and our homework help program, planned two summer programs complete with field trips, helped plan and execute countless fundraising efforts, updated and maintained the club’s website as well as its social media presence, corresponded with parents, donors, and community partners, kept track of and processed all member registrations and payments for the last two school years and summers, and built hundreds of relationships with the most amazing kids I’ve ever met,” Robin said.

Robin plans on continuing her role with BGCL for the near future, but knows that she will eventually pursue graduate studies, possibly to become a school psychologist working with middle and high school students.

The outcomes reports from the Harrington Center for Experiential Learning indicate that, like Robin, 99% of the Class of 2021 and 100% of the Class of 2022 were employed or in graduate school within six months of graduation.Read more about Colby-Sawyer graduate outcomes.