HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – We’ve told you about the fights, questionable visitors on the property and other incidents that threaten the safety of the kids at the Seminole Boys & Girls Club. Often times we associate neighborhoods like the one near the Westside Community Center in downtown Huntsville with bad news, but one man embodies a story with a happy ending.
“I grew up here in this neighborhood,” Nick Jones said.
Jones, or “Coach Nick” as “his” kids call him, is a saving grace for the Seminole Boys & Girls Club.
“Their dads or moms maybe not be involved so at the end of the day, we just need someone to cheer them on, and help them become positive kids and positive adults,” Jones said.
Whether it’s cheering on a basketball team or serving a meal, Jones makes a difference in the kids’ lives. They told us right away.
“Nick, he is my favorite coach because he shows good sportsmanship for me, and he makes me a better leader,” Deasha Toney said.
You could call his role a labor of love, a never-ending work day, and total devotion to children who share the same streets as he does.
“Actually most kids got my cell phone number, so they call me anytime they need to talk or need any assistance,” Jones said.
Following the Huntsville City Schools’ desegregation order, many of these little scholars switched schools. So, Jones eases the challenges that come with change.
“A lot of these kids got rezoned to Jones Valley and Blossomwood, and so I get up there every day at 7:00 a.m. to help with their transition,” Jones said.
Jones said loving between 95 and 115 kids as your own takes constant commitment.
“From 7 in the morning until about 10:30 at night,” Jones said about his hours.
But, Jones said he won’t give up.
“No, no, I can’t get burnt out,” he said.
Because he knows his kids need a role model to succeed in the real world.
“It sets examples for the little kids so they won’t go around and do all the bad stuff,” Toney said.
Since our story ran, Seminole Club personnel said a huge response came from the community and Huntsville city. Police officers are now stationed in the parking lot of the gymnasium daily from 2-10 p.m. Plans are also in the works to renovate the building, add additional lighting, and add security features.