Meet Club Kid Maleek
Maleek, a fourth-grader and an 11-year-old, has been a Club kid since February of 2012. Kids like Maleek regularly get written-off by adults who tend to lose patience when youth have challenging behavior. Maleek was having a hard time with authority when he first began coming to the Club. He was trying to cope with what was going on around him at school and at home. As a pre-teen, he didn’t know how to focus that energy in a more positive, productive way. Maleek felt misunderstood by the adults in his life. And, he struggled to fit in with his peers. His frustrations led to conduct issues.
“I began working with Maleek closely to get a handle on his feelings and emotions to help him find better ways of expressing his frustration,” said Robert Marshall, former Unit Director at our Lilly Boys & Girls Club. “Each day when he arrives at the Club, he and I spend at least 30 minutes talking about how his day is going and ways to redirect any frustration he has. We have a mentoring relationship. Maleek just needed a positive male role model to spend time with and to give him attention on a regular basis.”
Maleek has found several staff members with whom he really likes and enjoys working. Meaningful connections with those staff members have turned him into a learning sponge, soaking up as much as he can from them. Encouragement from adults outside of his family has enabled him to make better decisions and to do well in school; something that Maleek felt he was missing.
When Maleek first came to the Club, his grades also needed improvement. Struggles with his behavior meant Maleek wasn’t getting the most out of his Club experience. Now that he’s learned how to better manage his behavior, he’s able to reap the benefits of Boys & Girls Clubs programs such as the available homework tutoring during PowerHour and participation in Club sports.
Maleek’s behavior and his grades have improved tremendously since he became more involved at the Club. “Maleek’s highest point as a Club kid was when he made the honor roll,” said Robert. “He was so excited and couldn’t wait to get to the Club to show me. I was extremely proud to share that moment with him.”
Maleek’s story isn’t that different from the stories of many of our Club kids. They really do just need to know someone cares in order to become their best.
Find out more about our programs, our Club kids and how you may join us in reaching the youth of Indianapolis at www.BGCINDY.org.