Tuesday January 1, 2013

PITTSFIELD -- Jacob Colon has practically grown up with the Boys and Girls Club of Pittsfield, and now he’s giving back to it.

The 14-year-old is a freshman at Taconic High School, who says he likes to go to the club to be with his friends and now, to help out other kids.

"Always a kind kid, he has really stepped it up this year as a volunteer in our Senior Leaders program," said Tina Wixsom, part of the Boys and Girls Club team that nominated Colon for a S.A.Y. It Proud award.

The award was presented to him by the Pittsfield Prevention Partnership coordinator, Karen Cole, on center court at the club, in between the Dec. 21 high school basketball games. Colon gave the crowd cheering for him a big smile and a few waves.

Kimberly Conant, a program support staff member at the club, spoke about Colon during the presentation.

"Jacob is a positive influence not only on the younger members, but also on the staff. Always upbeat and willing to help, he is a role model for his peers and younger brothers, Justice and Jemel," Conant said.

In addition to Senior Leaders, Colon enjoys playing football and basketball with his friends at the club and at the CYC, and also likes to practice his cooking skills.

He said he’d like to see more people his age check out the club because "if you get more people here, you can meet more people."

Colon says he credits the club for helping him make positive decisions.

"I had a hard time in middle school but they helped me keep going. I learned you have to keep your head down and keep focused and keep going, no matter what anyone says," said Colon.

Editor’s note: Each month, Pittsfield Prevention Partnership, which aims to support the prevention of substance use and abuse among Pittsfield’s youth, will present a S.A.Y. (Supporting and Acknowledging Youth) It Proud award to a youth or youths from various organizations in the community. The award recognizes local youths for making positive decisions and contributions to their community.

In partnership with the PPP, The Eagle will run a profile of the award recipient(s) on the Learning page on the last Tuesday of each month.

The December award winner is featured today as there was no paper published last Tuesday because of the holiday.