By Janet Stoica
John Lefebvre has been associated with the Boys & Girls Club of Webster-Dudley since he was ten years old, and for the past 50 years he has given his time, talent, and treasure to the club that helps local youth prepare themselves for their future.
Mr. Lefebvre will be formally honored for his many years of service at a banquet on Thursday, September 6, at Webster’s Point Breeze Restaurant, where he will receive the club’s Helping Hands Award.
“I really love the club and all its activities,” said Mr. Lefebvre, “As a youth, I enjoyed basketball, the games room, playing pool, and all other gym activities. When I was 13 years old, we were allowed to stay and participate in activities until 10 p.m. and then walk home to Wakefield Street. It was safe to do that in those days.
“When I turned 18, I became a mentor at the club and helped the younger kids with all the good things that were offered there. Later I became a board member and still am a board member. It’s been a great association. We were fortunate to have been mentored by Ernest McGuinness, Joe Morse, Edmund Alger, and Jack Logan.”
When John was a student at Bartlett High School, he played basketball with friends Bobby David, Bobby Gould, Bruce Chauvin, and Randy Daggett. They fielded a pretty good team in the late 1960s, playing with fierce determination.
John Lefebvre also manages to spend time with local youth as a referee for Webster’s Bartlett Summer Basketball League. “It’s always a great time to be with the kids,” he said. “They’re our future and when they’re involved in these types of activities it builds teamwork and lasting friendships.”
John continues to have an active role in the club as a member of the finance committee. “It’s still a struggle to fulfill our budgetary needs,” he noted. “We are very fortunate to receive funds from the United Way and 100% of all our fundraising monies go directly to the club; there are no administrative fees of any kind. We serve almost 200 kids a day and also have free lunches provided by Friendly House of Worcester. Friendly House is a great partner with us. Our staff requirements are set by the state and we must maintain that ratio for our club participants. We offer so much for the local kids from basketball, hockey, flag football, volleyball, cheering, and arts and crafts to affordable educational field trips. There’s something for every child to participate in.”
The club is always looking for alumni to join them as either volunteers or club supporters. Prospective volunteers and supporters should contact Executive Director Lamel Moore at 508- 943-0037, Ext. 102.
“Family is very important to John,” said Linda Littleton, John’s fiancée. “He has three grown sons, John III, Patrick, and Casey, who attended the local club during their younger years and he also has seven grandchildren aged 3-13. John is very proud of his association with the Boys & Girls Club and his sons continue to be involved with the club.”
John, who last month retired from his position as controller of a Holden corporation, also runs the club’s annual fundraising golf tournament, which will be held on September 22 at the Nichols College golf course. The 18-hole fundraiser includes greens fees, cart, and dinner at the course with a very generous variety of raffle prizes, including closest to pin, longest drive, etc. for $125/participant. All are welcome! Please contact John at [email protected]
“The Helping Hands Award was established in 2010 to honor two of our retiring board members, Carl Bounds and George Lorkiewicz,” explained John. “They had done so much to further the ideals of the club. Other honorees were Robert Puchalski and Richard Androlewicz in 2010, and Cynthia Johnson in 2017.”
Mr. Lefebvre, a modest man, admitted that he did not feel comfortable receiving the Helping Hands Award, as he just enjoyed what the club did for him in his formative years and is pleased with what the club has done for all the other kids who came after him. He also stated that the club was a safe place to go to and actually had more discipline than school, a reference to the club’s rules that must be adhered to in order to remain a member in good standing.
On June 25, when the club’s gym floor renovation had been completed, John was surprised to be honored with the Helping Hands Award by having the center circle of the floor painted with his name and award. It will serve as a permanent remembrance of John’s long-lasting dedication and service.
“I’m humbled to receive the Helping Hands Award,” he said. “I’m very proud to have been chosen. I owe a lot of people thank yous. You don’t receive an honor like this by doing anything by yourself. The night of the awards ceremony, I’ll be thanking lots of people from family to friends to the kids who come through those doors.
“The membership must be thanked as they showed the passion that they wanted and needed for this facility—it’s become a home to the kids of our community. There’s a bigger need for these types of clubs, now more than ever. More kids are being raised by grandparents and one-parent households. We are very safety-conscious and secure at our facility. Our executive director, Lamel Moore, has an extensive Boys & Girls Club background and has all the tools to run the club successfully. He has enhanced our programs to attract the older teens, which is so important today.”
The Webster-Dudley Boys and Girls Club is located at 55 Oxford Avenue in Dudley and can be reached by phoning 508-943-0037. Summer programs are ongoing and new members are always welcome and encouraged to apply.