Club director makes impact on local teens

Published 10:39 pm Sunday, August 13, 2017

Darnell Maye fell in love with Washington.

More specifically, he fell in love with the Boys & Girls Club of Washington.

Maye, the director of the Washington Boys & Girls Club, spends his days encouraging and leading teens in eastern North Carolina.

While he is a 14-year veteran to the Boys & Girls Clubs organization, he has been the director of the Washington club for about a year.

“Working with teens is kind of my niche,” Maye said.

Before he began his work in Washington, Maye said he was directing at the Greenville location. When the previous Washington director took maternity leave, he began filling in and helping before eventually taking on the role as director himself.

That’s when Maye fell in love with Washington. He said he sees bright futures in the children he leads every day, and he enjoys teaching children through his own experiences.

“I think the difference is, I’ve worked, even when I was in the military, with different Boys & Girls Clubs, but I see so much potential when I tell the kids things or read them a story,” Maye said. “I just like teaching my experiences and talking about the mistakes I’ve made. It helps them.”

The club offers many programs that can help children be successful as they grow. Maye said his favorite programs include a “Street Smart” program and a “Healthy Living” program.

Maye has been leading the “Street Smarts” program for seven years. The program aims to teach children about gang resistance and independence, according to Maye.

Maye said the “Healthy Lifestyle” program teaches everything from cooking and eating healthy meals to even practicing yoga. The children also often cook southern-style foods with a healthy twist.

The club also established a community garden and started growing fresh produce and offering it to families in the community.
Maye said he believes children from all backgrounds should come to the Boys & Girls Club.

“From being a Boys & Girls Club kid myself, every child needs to experience a program like this,” Maye said.

Although he is still a Greenville resident, he said there is nothing quite like walking into work and having the opportunity to make a difference in children’s lives every single day.

“It’s selfish of me. It is. The drive is kind of tiresome, but when the kids every day have something they want to tell me, or something that they are proud about, it’s awesome. Just to see them when they are successful and that I may be some part of their success when they grow up,” Maye said.

Maye said he’s excited to continue to help make an impact in children’s lives and teach them how to be the best they can be.

“I’m just the director. I’m just manning the ship. It’s been a smooth ride so far. I’m enjoying it,” he said.