AUSTIN (KXAN) — Saturday morning, hundreds of people will watch as 15,000 little rubber duckies launch into Lady Bird Lake and race to the finish line. It’s the fourth annual Austin Duck Derby.
The event benefits the Boys and Girls Club of the Austin area — an after-school program designed to help kids succeed, including kids like 18-year-old Wendy Rodriguez who has some pretty big dreams.
“I hope to run for mayor one day and be a politician,” she said.
Rodriguez just graduated from the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders. For the last 7 years, she had been a part of the Boys And Girls Club of Austin. It helped her get involved in guitar club, a community service club called Keystone and she even started her own after-school Spanish club.
“I was Keystone president and Spanish Club president and thanks to them I was inspired to run for student body president of my school and was elected,” Rodriguez says.
Thanks to the help and support of the club, Wendy says she became a leader. “It helped me academically in tutoring and even in life as my second family,” Rodriguez said.
Hundreds of kids and teens like Wendy depend on the Boys and Girls club to help them. Many families don’t have the resources at home or can’t afford after school help.
“Traditional child care options in out of school time programming are frankly out of the budget for most of our families. We are able to provide services at no to low costs,” said Erica Taft with the Boys and Girls Club.
Services like tutoring, creative artwork projects, technology skills and athletic trips are all offered to the students in the club. “It’s fun with a purpose, comprehensive programming to kids who need us the most,” Taft said.
Rodriguez was just awarded “2017 Austin Youth of the Year” and in a few weeks, she’ll become a Longhorn.
“This club has offered me so many opportunities to make my family proud and be the first to attend and graduate from college,” she said.
The money donated to the Boys and Girls Club from the Duck Derby will go towards scholarships for the students. So far, the organization has awarded $52,000 in scholarships to high school seniors.