The Boys and Girls Club is for anyone who wants to be somebody, Darion McCoy says about the afterschool program located in the Douglass Community in downtown Plano. As one of two branch directors, he never stops fighting for kids or their futures, making sure they have a safe, inspiring place to come back to, no matter what.
What led you to the Boys and Girls Club?
When I was 19, I started volunteering as a basketball coach for a group of five-year-olds, after a friend of mine asked me. I saw that there were a lot of kids like myself who wanted to become a part of something. There were some kids having issues outside of school, and I felt I could make a difference in their lives. I’ve learned over the years that making a positive impact in a child’s life is one of the most important and powerful things you can do, and I have been working towards that goal every day.
Can you walk us through a typical day at the Boys and Girls Club?
We pick the kids up from school, and the first thing we take care of is their homework or any tutoring that they may need for “power hour.” Our model to them is business first and play later. After homework, we transition into the Boys and Girls Club of America’s National Program, which means we are going to start our STEM activities, physical education, art, drama, dance, mentoring and “smart moves” – life skills classes where kids learn about healthy relationships, getting involved in the community, bullying and staying drug free. Toward the end of the day, we let them have down time.
What is the hardest part about your job?
It’s knowing that you can’t save all of them. You try to be Superman, and you try to come as close to it as you can, but it gets tough. You just have to trust the process.
When you started, what did you think this job would be like?
I thought it would be like the recreation center, and I would come to teach kids basketball. But I saw that there was more to it. Working for the Boys and Girls Club, you play various roles: a father, uncle, big brother, counselor and doctor. Every child has different needs, and you have to be able to tap into each one. Having that ability to adjust is a big part of what I do.
What is the message you hope to instill in these kids?
You can become whatever you desire in life, whatever you set your mind to. My grandfather always told me your education is one of the most powerful things you can have. That’s one thing you will always carry with you.Boyd and Girls Club Plano >