2014 Children’s Champions Honored

2014 Children’s Champions Honored

During the John M. Barry Boys & Girls Club of Newton’s 60th Annual Meeting, five long-time Club supporters were inducted into the first class of Children’s Champions Honorees.   Each year, a small class of visionaries, leaders, and top performers who are/were responsible for helping the organization grow and thrive throughout its 100 year history will be granted this honor.

The 2014 Children’s Champions Honorees include: Pasquale “Pat” Proia, and the late Adelaide Buckingham Ball; Joseph E. Biotti, Jr.; Samuel Crocetti; and Robert L. Tennant.

Adelaide Buckingham Ball was the first woman elected to the Newton’s Board of Aldermen in 1953.  Adelaide joined the Club’s Board of Directors in the early 1950s, and she was one of a handful of individuals who was responsible for getting the Club a National Charter, turning it into a National Boys Club of America. Adelaide served as secretary, Chairman and finally president of the Board for the organization. With her presidency, she became the first woman to serve as a president of a Boys Club of America.

2014 Children’s Champions Honored

Joseph E. Biotti, Jr., became involved with the Boys & Girls Club Board of Directors in 1981, and stayed active until his death in 2002. During his 21-year tenure on the Board, he served in many different capacities, including Board President 1992-93. One of his proudest accomplishments was the effort to secure the current Watertown Street location for the new Club facility.  In addition to co-chairing the Building for Kids Campaign, which raised $2,000,000,  he volunteered his time on a daily basis during the construction of the new facility to supervise all aspects of the renovations and construction.

2014 Children’s Champions Honored

As Executive Director of the Newton Boys Club from 1957 to 1984, Sam Crocetti’s name was synonymous with the Club and there was not a youth in Nonantum who did not know “Babe,” as he was so fondly called.   Joining forces with then Club President, Giles Mosher, they were able to buy and renovate the old St. Jean’s Church.  With a new larger location, Sam offered a full range of sports programming along with photography, printing, woodworking, arts and crafts, gymnastics and later computers.  The Newton Club was one of the first in the nation to offer programs for girls, well before it became a Boys & Girls Club.  After retiring, he was appointed by Governor Ed King as State Boxing Commissioner.

2014 Children’s Champions Honored

Pat Proia has been a part of the Club and involved with its kids for at least sixty years – starting out as a volunteer at the age of 16.  He would later participate in the Club’s renovation of St. Jean’s Church before earning the position of Assistant Executive Director.  During his tenure, he was honored by the Boys Clubs of New England for having the best programming for three consecutive years, and in 1967, he established the first Newton Keystone Club.  This group, which is comprised of local teens who seek to be active in the community, is still active today.   Pat was ahead of his time, understanding the value of community service and its importance in building stronger leaders.  Although he left the Club to become an entrepreneur, he returned as a member of the Board of Directors in 1990 and has spent the last 25 years active in leadership roles.  Pat is a broad thinker and once he locks onto an idea and decides for himself that success is possible, nothing will stop him from finding a way to get the job done.   

2014 Children’s Champions Honored

Robert L. Tennant, Sr., was a lifelong Newton resident who founded the R.L. Tennant Insurance Agency in West Newton. He firmly believed in giving back to his community and served as a Newton Alderman for 23 years.  He was President of the Newton-Needham Chamber of Commerce, Master of Norumbega Lodge, and Chairman of the Newton Red Cross, but his real passion was the Newton Boys & Girls Club. He joined the Club Board of Directors in the 1960s and served in numerous capacities, including its President in 1964-1966. He was known for his fund raising ability and he was always amazed on how far the Club could stretch a charitable dollar

The honorees and/or family members who were present received a plaque commemorating the occasion. A mock-up of the permanent installation that will be built in the lobby of the Club was also on display.  The Children’s Champions recognition wall is designed to ensure that future generations will learn of and appreciate each of the Honorees’ good deeds.   As countless generations make their way through the Club in future years, the Honorees will stand as a shining example for them to aspire to imitate.   The sacrifices they made in support of Newton’s young people will never be forgotten.

To suggest an Honoree and/or to join the selection committee, please contact David Sellers, Executive Director, at dsellers@newtonbgc.com

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