After growing up as a “club kid” in the Bronx, New York, Timika Thrasher knows firsthand what a difference the Boys & Girls Club can make in a child’s life.
And that’s why she’s thrilled to become the new leader of the Frederick County club’s board of directors.
“Some of my lifelong friendships have been with people I met at the Boys & Girls Club,” Thrasher said in an interview. “Everybody should have the opportunity to be a club kid.”
Thrasher has been a member of the Boys & Girls Club of Frederick County board since 2017 and was appointed chair this year. She runs a commercial cleaning business with her husband, Greg, called Thrasher’s Cleaning Service. She’s a mother of two middle school aged children.
As a child in the Boys & Girls Club, she learned to roller skate and swim. Her older brother, Tim Jones, volunteered there for several years, and when the time came for him to attend culinary school, the club provided a partial scholarship as a way of thanking him. That generosity helped set him on a path to becoming executive chef for the Washington Nationals.
Thrasher wants to support Frederick youth like the club once did for her family. She hopes her community connections will help improve the organization.
Thrasher is also the community service chair of the western Maryland chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc., an organization dedicated to nurturing future African American leaders, according to its website.
Jack and Jill has been a partner with the Boys & Girls Club from day one, says Thrasher. When they fundraise, a portion of the money goes to the club. In January, a Jack and Jill popcorn sale made about $25,000 over three-and-a-half days, Thrasher said, and a percentage of that money will benefit the Boys & Girls Club.
She’s also a member of Rotary Club of Frederick and sits on the YMCA of Frederick County Board of Directors. As if that weren’t enough, she serves on the development committee for Heartly House.
When there isn’t a pandemic, she likes volunteering at her kids’ school.
“She’s such an active member of the community,” Boys & Girls Club Executive Director Lisa McDonald said. “She really sees the vision to move us forward to reach more children in Frederick County.”
Thrasher’s goals for the club include ensuring the staff and board look like the families they’re serving. Having a diverse organization in which the adults can relate to the kids they serve is important to her.
She also wants to change the perception of the club. Thrasher feels some people believe Boys & Girls Club is just for children who come from poor families, but that’s not necessarily the case.
“I feel like it should be for everybody,” she said. “Hopefully the stigma of what people think of the club changes.”
With COVID-19 restrictions in place, the club is offering a place for 38 students to work on their hybrid and virtual lessons between its Madison and Burck street locations. They’re also providing a virtual program called Clubhouse @ Your House, which offers fun activities to keep kids engaged.
In the future, Thrasher hopes to get middle school-focused programs back up and running, since they ceased a few years ago.
“If we want to make a change and we want to see a difference we need to do it with our kids now,” she said.