Boys and Girls Club celebrate 6th annual "Greatest Kids Initiative"
Tuesday, The Boys and Girls Club of St. Joseph County held a kick-off event for the 6th Annual “Greatest Kids Initiative.”
The theme for this years’ event is called “Where Heroes Meet.” The young club members nominated have displayed hero-like qualities and continue to make strides toward a bright future.
For LaSalle Elementary 5th grader and 2016 Junior Youth of the Year Candidate
Nolan Nuoinski – the feeling is unadulterated. Pure. Joy.
“Oh I felt good – I felt great. When I heard the good news. I felt special.” Nolan went on to say “I’ve learned that out of 1% of all the kids in boys and girls club, I’ve been nominated. I’m just so excited….Luckily the judges liked me so I’m standing here.”
Jory Fitzgerald Kelly is President and CEO of Boys and Girls Club of St. Joseph County.
“It’s a huge honor to be nominated for this process and to be part of this journey. It really is a journey. That they get to experience things that they would never experience in their life – in large part because of their mentors.”
A combined total of seven youth and junior youth candidates are paired up with – big kids – or mentors – leaders who have shown a commitment to youth education in the community.
Nolan’s mentor? Well known south bend business leader Paul Phair. For the very first time, Phair is excited to be a great big kid.
Phair will not only mentor Nolan over the next 14 weeks – but help out in another way.
“So they’re competing by becoming the greatest big kid in town and they win by raising the most money,” says Fitgerald Kelly. “Absolutely have the best of intentions and think this is fun and they’re going to meet these young people and they’re gonna have a good time. Little do they know that they’re lives are really gonna be changed by the process along the way.”
Since joining boys and girls club, Nolan’s life has changed too.
“I’m just glad – boys and girls club has given me a place to stay while my parents work. And the staff are just so nice.” He goes on to say that “They make me feel welcome. And their like my friends. My best friends. And they stayed with me throughout this whole time.”
The young heroes are nominated by teachers, local leaders and club staff that have identified them as an exceptional group of young people already making a difference in their club.
The “Greatest Kid” event takes place on April 29th.