Justin Washington, a Tuscaloosa native, grew up going to the Boys & Girls Club of West Alabama. The events and activities he was able to take part in when he was younger shaped much of who he is, he said. During his time at UA, Washington has worked hard to stay involved and give back the organization that gave him so much.
“It’s the same club that I went to when I was younger,” said Washington, now a senior at the Capstone. “I’m proud to be doing something that is meaningful. I thrive off of passion, and if I could tie my career to something that is meaningful, I think that’s the best thing I could do for myself.”
Washington first began working at the Boys & Girls Club as a camp counselor after high school and as the years progressed, got involved in different areas of the club. He said he has always wanted to represent and build the brand of an organization – especially nonprofit, and thought of this as a great opportunity to apply the skills he has learned as a public relations major.
“I was able to see what they did from basic programming to the behind the scenes of nonprofit management,” Washington said.
Washington, a civic engagement and leadership minor, said he was able to see what the Boys & Girls Club did at the national level through regional and national conferences.
“With working locally and learning what they do, I thought that this would be a good opportunity to apply PR to the nonprofit realm,” Washington said.
Washington took a trip this summer to the national Boys and Girls Club conference in New Orleans where he learned different techniques in nonprofit strategy and grant writing.
He attended a seminar on bringing STEM programs to underserved communities, and then worked on a STEM grant with the professional staff to implement a program at the Boys & Girls Club.
“Justin is an extremely valuable asset to the Boys & Girls of West Alabama,” said Kathryn Adams, director of marketing. “He works diligently as a mentor with many of the children and teens in our club. He also assists in fundraising efforts and has helped to secure grants from large corporations, like Dollar General, to ensure our programs continue to help those who need it the most.”
In addition to the STEM grant, Washington also worked on and received a literacy grant to support the club’s literacy initiatives.
Aside from working with the Boys & Girls Club, Washington is also very involved on campus as the communications director for The Source, a resident advisor in Paty Hall, an ambassador for the College of Communication & Information Sciences and a member of the Grandeur Gentleman’s Coterie.
“My motto is do it with passion or don’t do it at all,” Washington said.