From member to first Black president of Boys and Girls Clubs of Kentuckiana
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Driving around the Newburg community of Louisville is a trip down memory lane for Daryle Unseld.
“Wow, I haven’t been back here in years,” says Unseld.
The neighborhood is where he grew up as a child and some of his favorite memories were made at the Boys and Girls Club.
“In my mind, it was our country club in the neighborhood,” says Unseld.
The Boys and Girls Clubs of Kentuckiana are home to 1,200 kids after school.
A majority of those kids are minorities.
For the first time in the chapter’s history, the clubs are being led by someone who looks like them.
Years after being a member at the Newburg club and working at another one as a teen staff member, Unseld, an Air Force veteran, returned to the Newburg Boys and Girls Club to lead Kentuckiana clubs as president and CEO.
“Great futures start here and mine started here, and I am elated to be back full circle,” says Unseld.
Unseld is the first Black president of the club.
“Representation is vitally important in roles like this. Particularly, I think it’s important for young people to see people that look like them who came up with some of the similar circumstances that they are coming up to be successful in life,” says Unseld.
Unseld says the Boys and Girls Club was the first institution that invested in him as a child.
Decades later, club member Camden Warren is experiencing a similar feeling.
“I used to be a troublemaker back then, but now I’ve become more respectful to others around me and being respectful to myself. I used to really have no confidence in myself and now I really do,” says Warren.
Camden joined the club four years ago.
During the pandemic, he lost his sister to gun violence and struggled with online learning.
“I’ve had so much going on in my life, too. I’ve just been so down to where I’ve almost even tried to commit suicide,” says Warren.
He says during those dark moments, staff and friends at the club were his light.
“They’re really wise people. They want me to become something way more than just some kid from Louisville,” says Warren. “I’m way healthier with my mental health. Still working on it, but it’s getting there.”
As he learns to manage his feelings, he serves as a mental health ambassador, helping other students do the same.
“We feel like if we can do something about it, we can really start changing a lot of saving more lives,” says Warren.
He says joining the club has saved his life in multiple ways
“I’d probably be on the streets bumming around with people I shouldn’t be around. I could get caught up with some really serious stuff. I could get caught up in drug trafficking. Anything like that could just ruin my whole reputation,” says Warren.
As president, Unseld hopes to open more clubs to reach more kids and ensure the cycle never ends.
“I was him one day, for me may be able to come back gives me the opportunity to tell my story and I can serve as a living, breathing, walking example of what investment in the club’s mission yields to the community,” says Unseld.
The Boys and Girls Clubs of Kentuckiana has 6 club sites.
Unseld says a new club is in the works, but details about where it will be located haven’t been released.
BY ASHLEY N. BROWN KENTUCKY
PUBLISHED 9:51 AM ET JUN. 08, 2022