"This is what I wanted to instill in younger people"...Story told by Winston Alozie
CEO of Boys & Girls Club of Bethlehem
Winston tell us about yourself ?
My parents are both immigrants from Nigeria and I am the oldest of five children. The reason why my parents moved to the US was to pursue education. I was born and raised in Shreveport, Louisiana which is the heart of Caddo Parish. The majority of my childhood years were spent there. I learned how to interact with people, and how to treat people. These good values were instilled in me while I was in Louisiana. Then we moved to Bethlehem, PA in 2001 and in Bethlehem I attended school in the 8th grade and completed high school in Bethlehem. Here is where I really got to shine. I say this because those lessons I learned down south I got to put into practice. I was very intrigued as a child and I always wanted to know things which lead me into trouble typically with my peers. However I had really good teachers and mentors in my life who really saw the potential in me. They made me feel like I could be the first black president, astronaut, an author, pretty much anything. Because of this whatever my life’s plan was I wanted to do just that. I wanted to help kids be the best that they could be.
Photo source: Trip advisor
What inspired you to become CEO of the Boys and Girls club of Bethlehem?
I never had dreams of becoming the CEO of the boys and girls club...it was never on my mind. Because of the teachers and mentors that I had I knew I wanted to be a positive influence on kids. I’ll be the first person to tell you I don’t know everything but I pride myself on knowing a little bit about a lot of things. This is what I wanted to instill in younger people. I think for me when I came to Bethlehem and I met the kids who seemed to not have the same experiences that I had when I was a kid I knew that this is what I needed to share with them. God really prepared me for that.
"I knew that this is what I needed to share with them..."
What challenges did you face in becoming a community leader/CEO and how did you overcome them?
A major challenge is me. I thought this job was streamlining day to day operations improving structural and programmatic situations. I had to learn how to talk about why I’m good at my job, and how to approach donors for money. Sometimes I struggle with feelings of inadequacy, and unworthiness. The challenge is having to fight my negative thoughts, my perceived inadequacies, and proficiencies was what I needed to push out of the way. Another challenge I've had was having to prove to people that my method and approach is just as valid. A lot of people over the years I've worked with had a challenge of agreeing with my way of doing things. However overcoming this I had to gain the trust of the people so that they could see my methods and approach is justified and valid.
What advice can you give to young people who are looking to grow and stay on the right path?
It’s never too late to try and always try. This encompasses a lot of things. It’s easy to be told that you missed the boat. Society tends to say if you missed the boat you missed it. But if you want to try and put forth effort this is what you must do! Second chances often come around..
"But if you want to try and put forth effort this is what you must do!"
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