The program is spearheaded by Variety Executive Director, Matthew Troy, Martin Luther Executive Director, Jim Regan, and Chair of Variety's Young Professionals Board as well as the Head Varsity Basketball coach at Martin Luther School, John Sanchez.
The five 'Club Kids' that were selected to be in the sponsorship program are:
Adam Kirouani (8th Grade), Justice Davis (9th Grade), N'faly Kake (9th Grade), Nana Oteng (11th Grade), & Nariq Chisholm (11th Grade).
"Grades, attitude, and attendance were some of the factors that were considered when selecting our kids for the program," said Sanchez, who believes that the five kids in the program have the potential to shine at Martin Luther.
These five boys have relied on the Variety Boys & Girls Club for after school help with studying, basketball, and other activities that they enjoy. "We have developed close friends that are like family," said 'Club Kid' and now MLS 8th Grader, Adam Kirouani. "We also love playing basketball together," said Kourani, who lives just a few blocks from the Club.
"The Boys and Girls Club is here to support families in our community, and put our 'Club kids' in a position to succeed," said Matthew Troy, Executive Director of the Variety Boys and Girls Club. "This has been a terrific partnership for our staff and volunteers to work closely with the team at Martin Luther School to ensure that our scholarship members stay on track and reach their true potential," Troy added.
All five boys in the program are now excelling at Martin Luther School. Each has received at least an overall average of 82, with two of the boys (Adam Kirouani and Nana Oteng) making the honor roll (90 average) for the first half of the school year.
Attendance has been superb, with no more than three absences in the school year so far. Also, they are all student-athletes, so their schedule is jam packed with a commitment to excel in the classroom and on the court.
"I love being in a small school with a family-like atmosphere," said 11th grader, Nana Oteng. The transfer from Aviation High School has held a 90 GPA throughout the first half of the school year and according the Coach Sanchez, is a leader on the varsity basketball team.
"Coach Sanchez motivates me to be better on and off the court," said Nariq Chisholm, native of Queensbridge. "The whole school, especially Miss Boyle, holds me accountable for my grades, attendance, and behavior," said Chisholm, who is also a star on the varsity basketball team.
"Our small class sizes, firm discipline guidelines, and the zeal of our teachers are some of the many assets of Martin Luther School," said Jim Regan, MLS' Executive Director.
"When I met with Matthew Troy and the five sponsorship candidates, I knew that they were going to be a good fit. The boys are respectful and motivated," Regan said. "They also have a well mannered confidence that has allowed them to step out of their comfort zone, into a new atmosphere, and be leaders at Martin Luther School," Regan added.
Monthly leadership meetings between the five scholarship boys, Coach Sanchez, and Club Directors Andy Rodriugez and Charles Melone, help make sure that the boys are on top of their studies. "We talk about the importance of responsibility and the boys reflect on the opportunity that they have," said Rodriugez. "These five hard working boys deserve everything that they are achieving," said Melone. "There is no substitute for hard work," Melone added.