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BGCL Honors Serge Frederique with 2015 Jeannie Melucci Award

December 18, 2015

Methuen resident Serge Frederique, a five-year volunteer at the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence (BGCL), was honored on December 18 with the 2015 Jeannie Melucci Award. The recognition took place at the club's annual Christmas party, during which a holiday dinner donated by the 99 Restaurants of Andover and North Andover was served to more than 650 youth members.

The Jeannie Melucci Award is named for the late BGCL staff member whose tough love inspired countless children to extraordinary achievement. It is presented annually to a volunteer who goes above and beyond in service to the kids and club.

"We are very pleased to honor Serge," said BGCL Executive Director Markus Fischer, "and very appreciative of his tireless efforts to help pave a better path for our youth."

Frederique said he "got a little choked up" when he learned that he would be this year's award recipient. "I was taught to give back without expecting anything in return," he said. "I volunteer my time because that's the most valuable thing I can offer these kids - and because it was done for me."

Frederique, 40, was 11 years old when his family emigrated from Haiti in 1986. After joining the Waltham Boys & Girls Club, he met former program director Jeff Kelley.

"I didn't know the language or the culture, and he took me under his wing. He gave me an ESL book and helped me with my homework, and never gave up on me," Frederique recalled of Kelley, who now lives in Colorado. "When I asked him years later why he invested so much time in me, he said that he simply saw a kid who needed help. That's why it's so important to me now to share my time with other kids."

Frederique said he became acquainted with BGCL six years ago, when his niece Jadah played on the club's 7th grade girls' basketball team. Within the year, he began volunteering as a coach for the 5th grade boys' team before transferring to the 8th grade boys' team.

Frederique, who works in tech support, arranged special work hours with his company in Boston in order to volunteer at BGCL three or four days a week during basketball season. He helps players with their homework and reviews their weekly school reports during a mandatory study hour before practices and games, while stressing that "knowledge is the only thing that can never be taken away from you."

Although he is appreciative of the award, Frederique said he is most thankful to represent a community of adults that is invested in the success of the club's members whom he "looks at like my own kids." He emphasizes that volunteering at his "home away from home" is a fun break from the corporate world, but also an opportunity to change kids' lives which he takes very seriously.

"We have the ability to push kids to do better, which they don't always get at home - and that is extremely powerful," he said. "I thank the club for inviting me to join this great team of people who care so much about the kids of the Merrimack Valley. I'm very pleased to be part of it."

 

Did You Know?

The Lawrence Housing Authority credits the programs of the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence for significantly reducing juvenile deliquency in public housing.