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May Jefferson Awards: Connecting with the youth of Rochester

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Like many of us, Michael Dieter has a desire to serve his community but wasn't sure about fitting something else into an already busy schedule. Then he heard about the need for volunteers at the Boys & Girls Club, and he knew it was time to take that first step and get involved.

Ever since then, he's been dedicating his free time to making positive impacts on the lives of young kids every week.

From the beginning, it was always been about serving the kids for Michael. "Every time that I walk into the Boys & Girls Club I just pray that God would use me in a way that would connect with these kids in some way. And quite often that happens."

Whether he's throwing the football around in the gym, monitoring the hallways during transition times, or helping members work through difficult situations, Michael has become a face the kids at the club look forward to seeing every week.

Mikala Hora, Unit Director at the Boys & Girls Club Rochester, says that Michael goes above and beyond with his level of compassion and care for each individual child, making each one feel heard and understood.

One of the things that stands out about Michael most to Mikala is his ability to connect with the kids on a personal level and help them work through disagreements or disputes in a calm and mature manner.

Even with more than 100 kids at the club each day, he can call each by name, asking about their basketball games or math tests.

"One of the biggest tag lines of the Boys & Girls Club of America has is 'whatever it takes.' Whatever it takes for a family, whatever it takes for a child, whatever it takes for them to succeed. And that is definitely Michael. He's a 'whatever it takes' kind of guy. He's there when you need him. Whenever you need him to show up, he shows up."

Amanda Morgan

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