b'Positive words, powerful resultsV O L U N T E E R O F T H E Y E A R : My eyes were opened for the first time to what generational I knew there was magic poverty is, as well as other forms of poverty, like poverty of imagination, opportunity and hope, Mason said. Being a happening right here small part of bringing positive changeeducation, resources, kindness and growth for youthwhich then spreads like roots Volunteer Nanci Mason knows the gift of education. throughout the family of that youthhas changed my life. A college degree opened the door to a great career for Mason,Planting those roots can also change including being one of the first 200 employees at Cisco Systems. the lives of youth.It gave me the impetus for a very successful life, said Mason,I happen to have the most delightfulThis is wherewho moved from Silicon Valley to Nevada County in 1995, whenmentee, Mason said. She has excelled, handled adversity andI fit and putThe Friendship Club was just starting. become a real leader. all of myA decade later, a friend and Friendship Club board memberMason stresses the success storiesfocus.introduced Mason to the nonprofit organization. Its been a perfect match since. and there are many, with hundreds of girls going through The Friendship When I experienced how dynamic Friendship Club foundersClub since 2006.and staff were, how brilliantly they articulated their message, passion, tears, deep and direct understanding, she said. Well,The quarter-century-old organization gives a lift, a boostI knew there was magic happening right here in this smalland that helps improve your self-confidence and self-esteem, community. Mason said. There are girls here with so much potential. Each girl has something amazing to offer.Mason has definitely been part of the magic. As a volunteer, she started as an after-school driver, carrying girls to meetingsAnd every volunteer has something special to offer the girls and and other events. Soon, she was deeply involved, from creatingThe Friendship Club.art and teaching cooking classes to serving as a mentor. In turn, volunteers will gain friendship, connection and a Its a big responsibility, said Mason, who was named Volunteerfeeling of having value and a purpose in life. And watching the of the Year in 2019. These young people are facing hugegirls eagerly attend, learn and be sillyjust be girls without obstacles. We make a difference in their lives, even if we dontjudgment, run through their gamut of emotions and form always see it at the time. lifelong friendships is so rewarding.Quite often, a big difference. Friendship Club girls may beThose are the many reasons that Mason donates about 40 hours struggling with emotional and personal issues, from a death per month to The Friendship Club, including serving as Secretary in the family to a single-parent household where money andof the Board of Directors for a second term.one-on-one time can be in short supply. This is where I fit and put all of my focus.Mentor Nanci Mason with her student2 0 2 0 C O M M U N I T Y R E P O R T | T H E F R I E N D S H I P C L U B 1 3'