WEDDINGTON – A competitive dancer since age 5, Carly Rauch received devastating news during her sophomore year. The pain in her foot would require surgery. In her time away from competition, she coached a middle school dance team and accepted an invitation from a close friend to go to the Monroe Boys & Girls Club.
“I go to the club because I want to be as much of a blessing to the kids as they are to me,” she said. “I have learned so much for the kids and their positive attitudes, despite the circumstances they might be in.”
Rauch. a senior at Weddington High School, was named Salvation Army Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Charlotte’s 2019-20 Youth of the Year.
“Carly exemplifies the values we look for in our Youth of the Year. She’s a service-minded leader, she excels in the classroom and promotes a healthy lifestyle,” said David McQueen, area director of the Boys & Girls Clubs in Union County. “But what impresses me most is how committed she is in serving as a mentor for the younger members at the club. She pours into their lives and spreads kindness in our community. She’s an example for all of us.”
Proof of her work came this past holiday season, as Rauch organized Hope for the Holidays, an event that provided Christmas gifts for all Monroe club members.
“It’s important to do things like this because many of us are so fortunate,” she said. “I know many Boys & Girls Club members in our community come from difficult circumstances, so it’s an honor to be able to provide some gifts for them at Christmas.”
Being a member herself, Rauch knows the Monroe club members personally.
In the time since her injury, her foot has regained strength, giving her a chance at returning to competitive dance.
“Returning would take up so much of my time that I would have to give up other things that mean so much to me,” she said. “While it hurt tremendously to give up competitive dance, that void in my life was filled with new blessings that I am extremely thankful for.”
Upon graduating, Rauch plans to attend UNC-Chapel Hill or North Carolina State University and pursue a career in physical therapy.
About the club
The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Clubs was founded locally in 1935 on North Poplar Street. Today, eight clubs serve nearly 1,500 members in Mecklenburg and Union counties. Programs include academics, recreation, the arts, character and leadership, and health and life skills. Visit www.bgccharlotte.org for details.