Empowering Kids: Explore Grand Rapids’ Boys & Girls Clubs



Xavier Martin, a long-time member of the Boys and Girls Club in Grand Rapids, Michigan, is now an educator and mentor for the organization. Martin’s approach includes having the children he mentors repeat affirmations about their worth and importance, engage in educational games, choose activities they enjoy, and have someone who supports and encourages them. According to the Boys and Girls Club, young people who regularly meet with a mentor are 40% more likely to graduate on time and 55% more likely to enroll in college.

Grand Rapids Celebrates National Mentoring Month

As National Mentoring Month concludes, we recognize the pivotal role mentors play in shaping young lives. Xavier Martin, a steadfast member of the Grand Rapids Boys and Girls Club, embodies the positive influence a mentor can have.

Today, at 31, Martin is an inspiring mentor and educator at the Paul I. Phillips Boys and Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids.

“I grew up on the southeast side… The nearest Boys and Girls Club is the Seidman Center on Madison,” he shares. With his mentees, Martin starts every session with affirmations. “I want them to visualize the words ‘you’re great, you’re important, you mean something, and you’re phenomenal,'” he says.

Then, he engages them in educational games, followed by free-choice activities, guiding them with unwavering support throughout the day. Martin places a strong emphasis on the club providing a safe haven for children, encouraging their growth, and cheering them on.

He believes that every day presents an opportunity to positively impact a child’s life, regardless of their external circumstances. “Inside the walls, each kid has someone who wants them to become their best,” Martin says.

He likens the mentoring process to nurturing a flower. “You never know what the flower may blossom into, as long as you’re feeding and nurturing it,” adds Martin. He highlights the club as a place where children feel supported and advocated for, which he considers a remedy for today’s world.

Statistics from the Boys and Girls Club reveal that youngsters who consistently meet with a mentor are 40% more likely to graduate on time and 55% more likely to enroll in college.

If you’re interested in becoming a mentor, learn more here. For further resources in West Michigan, check out our comprehensive list.

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