Club Alum and Founder and CEO, Vaulted
When Lara Hanson looks back on her childhood, her 13 years at Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica hold some of her most treasured memories.
“My favorite parts of the Club were the people and the basketball. We had great mentors, developed friendships, and played awesome games of pickup every day after school,” said Lara.
When Lara first learned about the Club, it was only open to boys. Santa Monica Boys & Girls Clubs opened its doors to girls in was first in line to enroll—excited to join her friends and make her mark on the court.
“We had amazing facilities and a safe space to play,” she added. “A safe space, in the 80s and 90s, to go after school was important because there was a lot of craziness back then. … Many of our parents didn’t have money to put us in fancy after school programs.”
Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica was there for Lara and her friends—and their working parents who needed a safe place for their children to go after school. That commitment to an affordable, accessible place for kids drives our mission to this day. Our incredible donors support critical scholarships, no-cost transportation to the Club, and innovative programming that helps members reach their full potential.
Lara describes her younger self as shy. For her, the basketball court was home, a place where she could let her skills shine. Through SMBGC leagues and daily pickup games, she had fun while learning valuable life lessons.
The work ethic, competitive spirit, and confidence Lara gained at the Club have served her throughout her life—personally and professionally.
She attended Fordham University on a full athletic scholarship and had a successful career in technology. Today, Lara is the founder and CEO of Vaulted, a company that blends the digital and physical to preserve keepsakes and the stories that go along with them. She is also the recipient of a National Association of Women Business Owners Entrepreneurship Award.
“The Club was also great because we had the most amazing mentors and coaches. The adults that looked after us were the best; they were half angels and half uncles,” said Lara. “They played sports with us, but also taught us how to act right and have fun.”
“There are so many ways that the Club has shaped me, enjoying competition is definitely a big one and then also the importance of giving back, paying forward time to young people with coaching and mentoring, and being a helpful member in the community is another,” she added.
You can still find Lara on the court to this day, passing down the lessons she learned at Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica as a coach.
Lara is a founding member of our 80 for 80 community, a group of alumni supporting our work to empower and equip today’s Club kids through a consistent monthly donation to Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica. When you join Lana as a monthly donor at the $80 level today, you secure an invite to an exclusive cocktail reception where you’ll connect with other alumni and meet the team making our impact happen today. Celebrate your time at the Club by helping us equip the Club kids of today with the tools they need for tomorrow.