Assistant Director of Operations
Laura Wagner became an Assistant Director of Operations at the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence in 2016 after a long tenure with the Movement. Laura began her career in 2002 as a group leader at Pinckney Elementary BGC where she remained for a year before accepting the same position at Cordley from 2003-04. She returned to Pinckney to mentor Club kids as a group leader from 2004-07. For six successful years, Laura was the Program Manager of the Langston Hughes BGC site (2007-13), which included a promotion to Senior Program Manager. Laura was instrumental in one of the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence’s biggest moments as the primary mentor of Trei Dudley – the National Youth of the Year in 2012.
Laura earned her Bachelor of Arts in Applied Behavioral Sciences (2007) from the University of Kansas and completed her Masters in Business Administration at Baker University (2012).
While Boys & Girls Club has been the majority of Laura’s career, she re-joined the Lawrence staff after three years away. First, as the Area Supervisor at the Home Depot distribution center in Topeka and, most recently, as the Senior District Program Director at the YMCA of Greater Kansas City. Laura loves to spend time on KU’s campus, whether it be games at Allen FIeldhouse, tailgating at Memorial Stadium or running on campus. She is also a big fan of Mass Street restaurants.
Laura loves mac-n-cheese, tacos and sharing her her time between BGC, friends and family and her boyfriend, Jeremy, a mechanical engineer in Kansas City.
Best advice you have ever gotten from a Club kid:
One of my first graders wanted to eat cotton candy at a BGC carnival event. She wanted another and I told her it was ok. Her brother, who was in fourth grade at the time, asked me if it was really a good idea to let her have a second cotton candy. Then he proceeded to tell me it probably wasn’t because it would spoil her dinner and she didn’t need all of that sugar. Who would’ve thought?!
What makes the Boys & Girls Club special:
“The Boys & Girls Club means so much to me. I could go on and on. Throughout my time here, I have seen kids start the program quiet, shy, lacking confidence, disengaged from activities, without many friends, not doing well in school or not getting to be a kid because of circumstances at home. I have also seen many kids start the program thinking they didn’t have to earn what they got, didn’t listen or follow the rules and had no boundaries. But over the years, all of these kids learned, grew and became better people because of the Club.
Yes, the programs and activities we implement are fun and teach them new skills, but more importantly, it’s because of the adults, the group leaders, that work with them everyday before and after school. They become invested in their lives and truly want to see them succeed. The encouragement, the opportunities and the support make all the difference in the world.
It amazes me to see kids start the program so unsure of themselves, and leave the Club feeling more confident and comfortable in their own skin. It doesn’t just happen for the kids. It happens for the adults, too. I started as a young adult who wasn’t very confident, wasn’t sure what I wanted to do in life, but it was at the Boys & Girls Club that I learned and grew. These kids help me day after day just as much as I help them. I have made lifelong friends at the Club and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. The Boys & Girls Club is home.”
Words to live by:
“Everything happens for a reason.” You might not always know or understand why something happens at the time, but eventually it will come together and make sense.