MANHATTAN, Kan. (KSNT) – Loving, giving, wonderful and absolutely remarkable. Those are just some of the words people use to describe Manhattan resident Pamela Nealey.
“If she sees that there’s a need, she’s going to handle that need and look out for ‘How can I handle this group?'” said Barbara Green, Pamela’s mother.
Ever since she was a teenager growing up in Chicago, Nealey always wanted the best for the children in her life.
“I got a car, and instead of hanging out with my friends, I would be babysitting somebody’s kids or taking them to the beach,” Nealey said.
So when she later moved to Atlanta, pregnant with her first child, she began volunteering for the Boys and Girls Club of America, then known as just the Girls Club. There she worked with underprivileged girls.
“I just saw that these beautiful girls didn’t feel good about themselves, and it bothers me,” Nealey said.
That was when Nealey realized what her calling was. She needed something to encourage these young girls to feel good about themselves and to want to strive to become their best selves.
Then, the idea came to her.
“Dear DIVA. It was dynamic, intellectual, virtual and admirable,” Nealey said.
This group focused on ways these young girls could see how truly remarkable they are. Nealey would take them on trips to New York City and Washington D.C., and hold fashion shows where stores would donate clothing for the girls to dress up in and even keep.
“I saw, the first fashion show that I did, how one girl, she never brushed her hair. She just like always put it in a ponytail,” Nealey said. “She got it done for the fashion show and after that she got it done all the time.”
From there, when the Boys and Girls Club of America came to be, she began traveling around the country helping the kids in the program become the best they can be.
“I know the worst kids that have come to the Boys and Girls Club, she’s touched their lives and changed their lives into being meaningful,” Green said.
Nealey’s journey then brought her to Manhattan, where she began making a change at the local Boys and Girls Club of Manhattan. Working as their director of operations for the past five years, she has been able to help encourage so many kids in the area to look at themselves in an empowering light.
“She really cares for everyone in this building and wants this place to succeed and flourish,” said Ronald Hill with the club. “She’s a really amazing person.”
What once was Dear DIVAS has now become Diamonds and Divas, where Nealey is continuing to help girls of all different identities feel good about themselves.
“She felt like nobody noticed her at one time,” said Nealey in regards to one of the previous Boys and Girls Club members. “That’s the kind of person I want to make sure, ‘If you ever feel that way again, I got you, because you’re not invisible. I see you.'”
Since the beginning, many of the girls in Nealey’s groups have grown up to become lawyers, doctors and so many other roles, crediting her for their success.
She said she has no plans to slow down and cannot wait to continue her life mission of helping girls grow up to be exactly what she is, a remarkable woman.