We first met Johnnie as an 8th grader. He struggled with confidence, was withdrawn from his peers, and had a hard time focusing on his studies, mostly because of bullying. He came to us unsure of where he fit in or how to succeed in school or in life for that matter. He knew he was falling behind but, lacking a strong support system, didn’t know who to turn to in order to get back on track.

Not wanting to slip through the cracks like so many before him, he joined the Club in hopes of making friends and finding some place where he belonged. What he gained as a result was more than he anticipated or could have ever imagined possible.

Feeling empowered by the support system he gained at the Club, he became more involved, joining different leadership programs and even completing Career Launch so he could become part of the Junior Staff, a program that offers teens the opportunity to gain professional experience working within various positions throughout Club such as assisting in the kitchen or handling customer service at the front desk.

Currently, he is involved with the S.A.D.D chapter of the Club, or Students Against Destructive Decisions, is a member of Keystone Club, and works as a Junior Staff. He also offers help to kids struggling with Algebra, having discovered math to be one of his strengths. He was recently a Youth of the Month and hopes one day to become Youth of the Year!

Over the past two years, he has grown more self-assured in his ability to overcome academic and personal challenges. He sees himself as a leader among his peers and consistently encourages others to work with one another to overcome challenges in hopes that they will excel and persevere like he did.