Jovon

Jovon Club kid for Life

There are so many reasons that Jovon is a Club kid for life, but it mostly boils down to people. The people who Jovon came in contact with at the Club and those that became his mentors and heroes truly changed his life.

Jovon became a member of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor when he was only six years old. He knew some of the staff members and Club members from the community through basketball and other events. His friends who were members encouraged Jovon to check it out. He was hesitant at first, but his fears were quickly eliminated.

In his younger years, Jovon was overweight and it was an obstacle he felt he needed to overcome. He was afraid that he would not be comfortable at the Club because of his problem, but he soon learned that he was accepted, simply for being himself. That acceptance made Jovon feel both worthy and accepted.
Jovon then began to notice the leadership role that the staff played, leading by example. When so many in his neighborhood were not practicing what they were preaching, the team at the Club became a second family for Jovon. 

As he continued to grow and mature, the Clubs played a vital role in Jovon’s development. Programs like Passport to Manhood taught him a lot about the different stories and struggles others faced. Those lessons helped Jovon build a stronger bond with his peers and the men at the Club he considered his role models.

After graduating from high school, Jovon enrolled in college. Today, he is a senior at Grand Valley State University and is majoring in communications studies. With his degree, Jovon hopes to become a motivational speaker and knows that working with young people is his path. He continues to work at the Clubs during the summers.

“The Clubs changed me,” says Jovon. “The Clubs and the people in them made a difference for me and I want to have the chance to do that for others.” Jovon is interested in any opportunity that allows him to have a positive impact on people. “Every day, I am working to do better, to be more consistent, and to keep hope alive for those around me.”
Jovon says the Clubs helped steer him in a new direction, a direction that allowed him to become the leader he is today. “Because of all of the people who support the Clubs, I was given the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and find a second home. For so many kids I know who didn’t have a stable home, the Clubs gave them that. Now, just like me, they have a different outlook on life, a new perspective. They breathe different air and carry themselves differently. The Clubs did that.”

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