Lawrence Boys and Girls Club


Back To News Page

Steve Kelley and Natasha Ballou Inducted Into BGCL Alumni Hall of Fame

November 30, 2017

Steve Kelley, associate director of the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence, and Natasha Ballou, a vice president at J.P. Morgan Corporate & Investment Bank, were recently inducted into the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence Alumni Hall of Fame. Ballou is only the second female inductee at the club, which began serving girls in 1990.

The Alumni Hall of Fame was established to honor the personal and professional achievements of some of the club's notable alumni. This recognition inspires youth members who are striving to make their own mark in the community and beyond.

"We congratulate our two new inductees, Steve Kelley and Natasha Ballou, who join the 69 previous members of our Alumni Hall of Fame," said Markus Fischer, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence. "For our kids, the names on the Alumni Hall of Fame wall signify that the way to a better life is through hard work. Such positive role models are critically important, and we are fortunate to have so many representing the best of what the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence stands for."

Kelley, associate director of the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence, became a club kid at age 10 and never left. A beloved basketball coach and father figure, he recently celebrated his 51st year as an integral employee of "Kelley's Club" named in his honor in 2000.

Kelley is praised by generations of alumni for dedicating his career and life to transforming kids into self-confident, capable, caring adults by instilling the importance of aiming high because hard work pays off. A graduate of Central Catholic High School, he earned a bachelor's degree in sociology and psychology from UMass Lowell.

In his acceptance speech, Kelley paid tribute to his family, co-workers and the "greatest kids in the country." He noted that the club has produced two Boys & Girls Club of America National Youths of the Year plus four national finalists, 10 Massachusetts Youths of the Year, the 2014 National Digital Arts Awards winner and the 2010 National Exchange Club ACE Award winner.

"For years, we watched kids come through our doors with the potential to be anything they wanted to be - they just didn't know it. These kids were just as smart, just as talented, just as conscientious, just as enthusiastic and just as intelligent as kids anywhere in the United States. And they were hungry - not for food, because we feed over 300 kids a day at the club - but hungry for the American Dream, hungry for success," Kelley said. "They all want to make something of their lives, but they aren't sure what they want to do and they don't know how to use goals to succeed. Our kids don't always have someone at home who can help them make those kinds of decisions - and that's where the club must work its magic!"

Ballou joined the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence at age 10 when her working parents needed a safe place for her to stay after school. In addition to playing basketball and volleyball, she was an active member of the Keystone Club, through which she assisted with the supper program and performed community service projects. Ballou, who earned Girl of the Year honors, credits those early leadership experiences with developing her entrepreneurial spirit and other best practices that have proven valuable throughout her career.

A graduate of Central Catholic High School, Ballou received her bachelor's degree in economics with a concentration in finance and minor in philosophy from UMass Amherst. She received her master's degree in finance and control from Harvard University.

Ballou closed the evening with a special message for the donors who keep the club's doors open. Youth members pay a $40 annual fee, but the actual cost of programming and supper each night exceeds $850 - with little government funding to bridge the gap.

"Understand that your contributions go a long way. Whether it's the only meal that members have to look forward to, or having the resources to submit a private school application, or having the ability to attend a prep course or just having a beautiful, clean facility to go to after school, you are changing and impacting lives in this community for the better," Ballou said. "I, along with many of my closest friends and all of the alumni who are here this evening, are a product of your generosity. I hope that you will continue to impact lives the way you have ours."


Did You Know?

In the past 10 years 1,300 girls have participated in our teen-pregnancy prevention program and only two (0.2%) have become pregnant as teenagers.