The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Fox Valley reaches 12,000 young people each year through an array of important programs and services, and nearly 1,200 each school day. Our mission is to inspire and enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens. We will be sharing stories of the impact of our work throughout the Fox Valley community.
Jayzon was only seven years old when he moved to Appleton with his mom, a single mother, and his siblings. Almost at once, the Boys and Girls Club became a safe place where he could find friendly faces and have fun. “I honestly was just happy that I could come to a place and just be me,” Jayzon recalled of his early days at the Club.
Not long after joining the Club, though, Jayzon’s mother died. “If you knew me and my siblings at that time you would know our mom was everything to us,” Jayzon recounted. “She was the rock. She died and everything changed. Everything but one thing, and that’s the Club.”
There’s no overstating the impact such a loss can have on a young man. It is a permanent tragedy that alters a child’s life trajectory. But for Jayzon, the Club was his safe harbor. “I guess you can say the Club was one of the main things to keep me grounded,” Jayzon said. “If I didn’t have the Club coming up I honestly couldn’t tell you where I would be.”
Today you can still find Jayzon at the Club, but now he is an employee and mentor to kids who connect with him because his life’s journey is much like their own – filled with challenges that often seem impossible to overcome. These young people look to Jayzon as a respected leader and an all-important role model.
“The Club is a safe environment where you can come and make friends,” Jayzon notes. It’s always been that way. “It was a place I could come to and forget about everything outside and just be me.”