Meet Justin Barthelemy from Oak Cliff Boys & Girls Club. Justin is a 17-year-old, college-bound senior and student council president at Franklin D. Roosevelt High School in Oak Cliff, TX. He has participated in Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas’ youth programs for over six years and has transformed into a dedicated and productive young leader and mentor for other young people.
Justin’s journey as a Club kid began when his parents turned to Oak Cliff Boys & Girls Club in search of a safe place for their children after school. They, indeed, found safety and so much more at Oak Cliff Boys & Girls Club, as Justin made new friends and began participating in many of the leadership and service programs that were offered.
In the beginning of his development at Oak Cliff Boys & Girls Club, Justin played flag football, was enrolled in the Passport to Manhood program and was an active member of the Torch Club, a program designed to teach young people leadership skills, good character, and integrity. Club kids in Torch Club work together to implement projects in the four focus areas: service to Club and community, education, health and fitness, and social recreation. Justin eventually graduated to the Keystone Club, a similar program for high-school age Club kids. Justin is also involved in Building Industry Leaders, a program developed to introduce careers in real estate, design, engineering, and other professions represented by Urban Land Institute (ULI) to Club kids.
Justin’s participation in Club programs such as Torch, Passport to Manhood and ULI, helped shape his outlook on community responsibility, leadership, and mentorship.
“The most important thing that matters to me is to change my community and the way it impacts youth”, says Justin.
When asked about his experiences at Oak Cliff Boys & Girls Club, Justin replied, “It’s the first time I felt like I belonged…it has given youth like me a safe place to go after school”.
Justin explained joining Oak Cliff Boys & Girl Club allowed for many opportunities to socialize and be interactive with other kids like himself. “Otherwise, I would just be at home”, says Justin.
Justin is currently enrolled in Young Professionals in Finance, a program that teaches Club kids how to network, communicate and be financially savvy.
“I want to be an entrepreneur and have several businesses,” says Barthelemy when asked about the future.
With his work in Keystone, Collegiate Steps, a program designed to prepare Club kids for college, and his candidacy for Youth of the Year, Barthelemy is surely destined to change the world.