Kevie Dixon recently celebrated 20 years as executive director of Paulding County Boys & Girls Club. And though he has dedicated his life to the mission of building great futures – looking back over the years – he says it was kids like Andrew Borders who deserve recognition for teaching him a thing or two about perseverance.
Andrew – now a 30-year-old businessman, husband, and father – was just an impressionable 9-year-old boy when Dixon came into his life. Dixon spotted the bandana-toting kid wandering with a group of older boys near Dallas Elementary School, former home of Paulding Boys & Girls Club. He suspected they might be up to no good.
“He was walking around with the kids, and I just asked him what he was doing,” said Dixon. “It was one of those hanging-out-type deals, and I told him he was coming to the Club. He had a little chip on his shoulder, and felt like he needed a little love and direction.”
Despite his reservations, Andrew accepted Dixon’s invitation – a moment that would change both of their lives.
“I didn’t have a dad around, so I had to turn to Mr. Dixon a lot,” said Andrew. “There were a lot of small things I didn’t know about being a man, and he really stepped in and influenced my life.”
Priorities were among those valuable lessons.
“He’d make us do homework before we did anything else. He got us into basketball at the Club, but we had to put in an hour of homework before doing any other activities,” Andrew recalled.
Dixon also taught him responsibility.
“When I became a pre-teen, he gave me my first job working as a junior staff member for the summer program,” Andrew said. “I walked to work every day.”
Andrew said he also learned some tough lessons in saving.
“Mr. Dixon would hold my paychecks to help me save for my first car – a $900 Chevrolet Impala!”
Dixon said he’s always admired Andrew’s determination to succeed, despite the tough hand he was dealt at such an early age.
“I had to figure out where I was going to live at 13. My mom left, so I moved from my aunt’s house to other people’s house; whoever would take me in,” Andrew said. “But wherever I went, I knew it had to be somewhere where I could get the Boys & Girls Club.”
Andrew said the bitter and the sweet have shaped him into the strong man he is today.
“I encourage kids to gravitate to a positive person they can trust. It’s hard to beat a person who keeps fighting. It may not get easier, but it’ll get better if you keep fighting,” Andrew said.
Dixon said Andrew’s life reaffirms the importance that the Club can play in shaping kids’ lives. And the best part is seeing those same kids grow into caring adults who pay it forward.
“Andrew was just one of those kids who stuck with the program the whole way through,” Dixon said. “He now shares his ups and downs to motivate kids through mentoring and coaching. I’m so proud of him and I’m excited to see what the future holds for Andrew and his family.”
Andrew now serves as a successful businessman in the Paulding community. He is also a loving husband and devoted father. Andrew has made history as the first Boys & Girls Club alumni to come back and serve on the Paulding County Board.
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