For Hometown News
ST. LUCIE COUNTY -- Making bad decisions, hanging out with the wrong crowd, skipping class and poor grades were a way of life for Johnny Lamour, 16, until a friend took him to the Boys & Girls Club of St. Lucie County.
He didn't know that walking through the doors of the Chuck Hill Unit of the Boys & Girls Club that his life was going to change forever.
"Before the club, I didn't do anything - no homework. I skipped class and just hung out at home," said Johnny, a sophomore at Centennial High School in Port St. Lucie. "As a freshman, I wanted to try out for the basketball team, but my grades were so bad they wouldn't let me. That broke my heart. With nothing else to do, I went with a friend to the Boys & Girls Club. Everyone was just so welcoming and fun that I just kept coming back."
When Johnny's mother relocated in the middle of the school year, he moved in with his father, but he was not comfortable at the house that was to be his new home.
Johnny expressed his concerns with the staff at the Boys & Girls Club, and they helped to find him a new safe place to live so he could complete his sophomore year of high school before moving to join his mother in a new town.
The Boys & Girls Club also offered Johnny things that he never knew were missing from his life - a safe place to go after school, a place to learn and the sense of belonging to a loving family. Johnny received help with his homework, and in one year raised his 1.5 grade point average to a 3.5, qualifying him to join the basketball team.
"Because of the Boys & Girls Club I had people to talk to, I improved my grades and I even won a $1,000 scholarship from the Children's Services Council of St. Lucie County," said Johnny who now tutors young children at the Chuck Hill Unit. "Until now, going to college never seemed like it was something I could do or even afford. Maybe someday I'll become a psychiatrist so I can help others."
"I'll miss my Boys & Girls Club family when I move," said Johnny. "The staff already helped me find a Club location near my mom. I look forward to going there, trying out for the basketball and track teams, and graduating high school so I can go to college. None of this would have been possible without the Boys & Girls Club and the staff there. I thank them so much for being there for me."
The Boys & Girls Clubs of America programs and services promote and enhance the development of young people by instilling a sense of competence, usefulness, belonging and influence in a safe and fun environment. The programs and services are supported by membership and community outreach. Locally, the Boys & Girls Club is funded by the Children's Services Council of St. Lucie County.