Jerome Callaway doesn’t know where his life would be heading without the Boys & Girls Clubs.
It was a few short years ago that Jerome was fighting at school, struggling to be respectful to adults and battling to keep his grades up.
But that changed with the help of the structure, mentors and friendships at the Boys & Girls Clubs.
Now a junior at Blythewood High School outside of Columbia, S.C., Jerome said the organization completely changed his life. And in turn, he’s helping others do the same in their lives.
Jerome worked as a mentor and junior leader to 40 middle schoolers at Longleaf Middle School this past school year. He helps them with their homework. He consults with them over grades in the computer lab. He plays basketball. Most importantly, he’s there for them.
“Kids look up to me, in a way, because I used to be in their same situation — in their same shoes,” Jerome said. “Now I have an opportunity give back to younger kids and mentor them.”
The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Midlands recently recognized Jerome’s leadership and determination with the Youth of the Year Award. The award also comes with a $2,000 college scholarship, funded by Colonial Life.
The recognition, along with the funds, has opened new doors for Jerome. Now, he longer just dreams about going to college — he believes it’s his destiny. Always a sports fanatic, he’s interested in a career as an athletic trainer and says he’s ready for his next adventure.
“Receiving that scholarship really just opened my eyes and showed me that I really can go to college,” he said. “I did have doubts about going to college. But now, it’s like, I can do this. I’m going to do it.”
Congratulations Colonial Life!