Upton Elementary School Principal John Grzywack grew up at the Boys & Girls Club in Royal Oak.
"John was a kid who was really a classic Boys & Girls Club member," said Brett Tillander, executive director of what is now the Boys & Girls Clubs of Oakland & Macomb.
started coming to the club at age 7, and by 18 he
was our Youth of the Year and Midwest Youth of the Year, traveling to Washington D.C. and meeting President George H.W. Bush in 1989."
is the youngest of three brothers, all of whom attended the club.
oldest brother, Jeffrey, known as "Ace," died of a heart defect at age 16, the same year Grzywack joined the club.
brother Gary, who has special needs, comes back to the club each summer for a Keystone Club New Horizon's
understands the importance of providing that experience to kids, he
approached me and asked what it would take for us to pick-up children from Upton
and bus them to the club.
"Knowing they offer tutoring, an after school homework club and athletics, I though it would be a great way for my kids to get a start on their school work, participate in activities they enjoy and develop friendships," Grzywack
"Club staff members taught me the importance of being responsible, valuing the job you have and taking pride in yourself, and I knew they would do the same for my Upton
Over the past summer, Grzywack
met with club staffers to work out logistics.
Now more than 20 Upton students are bused to the Royal Oak club location every school day and that number is growing daily.
"I'm hoping my kids have the same experiences I had with the Boys & Girls Club
as a foundation, and that they learn the value of helping others," Grzywack