united way of greater chattanooga



Potential dropout to scholarship recipient

Sometimes, all you need in this life is a little push in the right direction. That’s certainly true for Robert Cobb, who joined the Boys & Girls Club of Chattanooga as an adolescent. His grades were suffering, he had a negative disposition (even for a teenager), and he was having problems making friends. Robert’s future looked bleak to some. But not to the determined people at the Boys and Girls Club of Chattanooga. They refused to let this young man with so much potential slip through the cracks.

“They pushed me more than anybody else ever had,” says Robert. “ They taught me how to make the most of my life.”

From homework help to educational outings, the caring staff encouraged Robert to go beyond his limits every day. Over time, Robert’s grade sand friends improved.

“If it wasn’t for them, I would not have matured the way I have,” says Robert, “and I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today.”

As Robert grew older and matured, he assumed the role of leader for the younger kids in the program and contributed in ways like organizing activities and helping with schoolwork — he even received the organization’s first-ever Service to Club Award. 

In fact, Robert made such significant academic and leadership strides that he was awarded a college scholarship through the Boys and Girls Club of Chattanooga — making him the first in his family to attend college. Not forgetting where he came from, Robert has returned after his first semester in school to serve the program as a summer camp counselor. 

“It means so much to me to work here,” says Robert. “I’ve come full circle.” 

United Way is proud to fund programs like the one Robert took part in. Research supports that 89% of kids served by United Way partner youth programs demonstrated positive behavior in and out of school— that’s something that impacts our whole community in a powerful way.