ALAMEDA -- The Alameda Boys & Girls Club Foundation recently named the winner of the 2014 Youth of the Year Award: Lavell Calloway, who receives a $2,000 Sally Rudloff Scholarship Award as part of this honor.
"Lavell created an open mic program, so kids have been able to do poetry at the club. He's also been active with the drum core. He really goes out of his way to go the extra mile. Even when he's not on the clock, Lavell is doing a lot," said Jeff Miller, chief professional officer of the Alameda Boys & Girls Club.
Calloway began work at the club as a volunteer as a senior at Island High School and then took a part-time staff position. He attends Laney College.
"Lavell has been an integral part of the club ever since he started working here, when the volunteers and staff immediately took a liking to him," Miller said. "He always has a smile on his face and is a great role model."
"I like to supervise the kids, make sure they do their homework and are doing group and other good activities," Calloway said.
The Alameda Boys & Girls Club offers different activities each day of the week for up to 180 children who use its services regularly. There is a supper club on Tuesday, information technology and basketball on Wednesday and a movie on Thursday. On Friday, the club features basketball for boys and social time for girls.
"I'm glad I helped set up the poetry program, and I'd like to see it keep going," Calloway said. "It's great to see all the kids happy and in a good mood."
The young adult has also involved guest poets who've come to the poetry program from time to time and has organized the kids to work on group projects, he said.
Calloway also cooks with the students on occasion.
"His smile is very contagious," Miller said. "Lavell has the respect of the older kids and the younger kids love him to death.
The Laney College student is finishing up a program focused on manufacturing and then may move onto a culinary program. Those studies could dovetail nicely with the Alameda Boys & Girls Club's own push into more food-related endeavors.
The club brings in professional chefs and teaches the children to cook on Tuesdays. The aim is for the kids to begin selling some food they make at the Farmer's Market and other sites in town.
"We like to see the kids roll up their sleeves," Miller said.