Written by Hilary LaMotte Burke
Western Sussex Boys & Girls Clubs welcomed a new, yet familiar face to their full time staff this summer. Marcus Prattis, a Seaford Club kid since the age of 7, joined the Club in late July as the Athletic & Teen Director. While Marcus has come and gone from the Club over the years, one thing was for sure, he knew he wanted to work with youth to make a positive difference in their lives.
As a 7 year old boy Marcus started attending the Seaford Club during the summers and the Club at Woodbridge Elementary during the school year.
As a teen Marcus stayed connected with the Club through various sports leagues like basketball and track.
While working on his Associates Degree in Human Services at Delaware Technical Community College, Marcus knew there was no other place he wanted to complete his internship than with the Club. His first year of formal internship he worked closely with the staff to prepare the Club for their Delaware Stars certification. Anyone who has been through that process knows that it takes every staff person to work 150% to ensure that the Club, its programs, facilities and staff are on point. Marcus was able to support the process and be present when the Club was awarded their Stars Level 5!
Marcus had such a connection with the Club (which was reciprocated by Club staff and kids) that he was able to work with Del Tech to complete his second year internship with the Club as well. During that time Marcus was able to dive a little deeper into the implementation of programs and services and work more one-on-one with the youth.
It was during this time that Marcus got more involved with the Teen TITAN program and was able to lead Positive Action groups. Programs like Life Skills and Hip Hop Literacy allowed him to interact with the teens, building relationships, while providing them prevention and recreational activities. While Marcus will work more closely with the Youth of the Year finalists from Western Sussex in his new role, he was deeply involved with establishing the Junior Youth of the Year program for the Club the past few years.
So, what made Marcus want to return to the Club as an employee after years of being a Club kid himself? When asked, Marcus stated; “Seeing the impact the Club had on me made we want to return that to other kids, especially with the younger kids. When you’re younger you’re more open and comfortable about sharing. Teens communicate differently, I get that. I was a teenager not so long ago. Parents and teachers can’t be with their kids 24/7, knowing that when they aren’t at home or school they are in a positive environment like the Club is important. I like knowing I am a part of the greater piece of the puzzle that gives youth opportunities to grow and learn. I had that when I was kids and now it motivates me to do the same for the kids in my Club”.
Check out all the great opportunities that Marcus and the Western Sussex Boys & Girls Clubs are providing by following them on Facebook or stop by and say hello!