As CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Albany, Marvin Laster has witnessed the transformative power of adults interacting with, mentoring, and providing positive support systems for youth.
“It is an unbelievable experience to watch how the actions of committed adults can inspire young people to perform better in school, build healthy relationships, and make wiser choices that can totally change the trajectory of their lives,” says the Albany native. He calls himself a “Mill Boy” because he grew up in East Albany “behind the mill” aka the Coats & Clark Factory. Marvin loves his hometown and the famous people and products it has produced. He often tells people Albany, Georgia is the center of the universe, he says.
“I mean, think about it… if you drink beer, use toilet paper, heat wraps, like m&ms, candy canes, or need a military tank… chances are it came from Albany!”
As passionate as he is about Albany, he’s even more so about making a difference in the lives of young people. He believes every child deserves a place to go where they can go, grow, and thrive. His dream is to realize an ‘ecosystem of youth development’ in Albany that helps ensure every child has a safe, positive place where they are nurtured and provided the support and resources to realize their full potential.
Why return to Albany? That’s an easy question for Marvin to answer.
“I came home to be solution-driven with hopes of bringing forth change among those who may have given up on their future,” he says, adding that he is not disillusioned. “I know that one person alone is incapable of curing all the challenges afflicting Albany’s youth… I came home to join a team of dedicated professionals who are committed to making a difference in the lives of young people… to be a part of a community committed to providing hope and opportunity to young people in my beloved hometown.”
“This,” he says, “is why I came home.”