Da’Mireah Lee takes part in Youth at Heart’s after school program – specifically the pom squad, and it has made a huge difference to her.
“We get to dance and express ourselves. Most of the friends I have I’ve made at Youth at Heart; we all help each other,” she says.
Da’Mireah, or as her friends call her, Miri, has been so involved with YAH’s program that she was asked to join the first student advisory team at her school to recommend ideas for the program before it launched in 2015. The hopeful future veterinarian finished up fifth grade last year, so she’s moving on, but Youth at Heart made a lasting impact on her life.
There’s another legacy Miri will leave behind at her elementary school – her dad. Her father, Bobby Droke, a U.S. Army veteran, started volunteering his time at the YAH program initially to get to spend more time with his daughter. But his mission has expanded and now he’s dedicated to all the students – and he plans to continue volunteering even after his daughter has changed schools.
“A lot of the things they deal with, they shouldn’t have to,” Bobby says. He helps kids with homework, cleans up and just spends time talking with the students.
“Many of these kids don’t get a lot of male interaction,” he says.
“If Youth at Heart weren’t there, those kids would have different lives and not in a good way,” he says. “I’m not a cool guy, but I care.”