“The Club was a place I could go and be safe, eat a hot meal daily, work on social skills while playing with friends and play sports until I was drained of every ounce of energy in my body,” said Larry “Chip” King, Jr., Boys & Girls Club of Rochester alum.
A Club member for more than 10 years, Chip’s future was impacted by his experiences at the Club in a number of ways. With twelve siblings, Chip was the first to graduate from high school and college, accomplishments he largely attributes to his positive experiences at the Club.
When asked to explain what programs had the largest influence on him, Keystone Club and the Art Program were at the top of Chip’s list.
Keystone Club taught Chip how to be social, confident and how to build relationships. Being recognized as the 2004 Western New York Youth of the Year set the tone for his future. “It really showed me that hard work pays off.”
“Keystone allowed me to travel and see different parts of the United States while learning leadership skills that I could come back and teach the other Club members,” said Chip. “I have been able to take what I learned by being a part of Keystone Club and use it as a way to teach my peers and co-workers the importance of working together and accomplishing goals as a team.”
At the age of 20, Chip found an inspirational mentor in Kathy Holt. Her late-husband’s name was also Chip and they had a great connection. Kathy taught Chip life skills of how to be a good person and how to stand up for what you believe in. When she passed she bequeathed $2.1 million to the Club, which kicked off a capital campaign to complete her vision of renovating and expanding the facility. The building now bears her name.
Chip’s creativity and imagination largely stems from time he spent in the Art Program. The skills that he learned while doing projects in the art room have made him challenge himself to think outside of the box and come up with different ways to overcome new obstacles. “Art also helped me to stay focused on creating the greatest masterpiece – myself,” said Chip.
As a member of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Rochester’s Junior Board, Chip helps raise awareness and funds for the Club. The commitment the Club made to him as he was growing up in the city influenced him to make a promise to himself to give back to the Club where he grew up and to help inspire a child that may be going through similar hardships he experienced.
“The Club helps mold lives and it’s our duty as alumni to give back so we can keep this cycle of success going to the generation after us and many more after them,” said Chip.
Chip now works as a manager at Wegmans and continues to use all of lessons he learned from his time spent at the Club and with Kathy Holt every day. “I learned how to stay disciplined and to overcome challenges and barriers.”