"Growing up in Harlem and Queens in the 1960's could be rough," recalls Steven Melton, Associate Executive Director of Madison Square Boys & Girls Club. Steve's mother, a single parent of four boys and three girls, first looked into the Boys Club of New York as a means to "keep these four rambunctious boys off the mean streets." Her decision proved to be a wise one. Once in the club, the staff recognized Steve's potential and encouraged him to take advantage of mentoring programs, learning enrichment and social activities. This, in turn, helped him become a responsible student. In 1973, he was accepted to Queens College and began course work toward a major in Biology.
To pay his way through college, Steve began to search for part-time employment. A mentor and friend from the Boys Club recommended Madison as a possible job opportunity. He was soon hired as Director of the day camp program. "Although my primary motivation in taking the job was financial, I loved being able to give back some of the guidance and support I myself had received," Steve explains.
After graduation from college, Steve was on his way to medical school when he received an offer of full-time employment at Madison, this time, as Recreation Director. As a long-distance cyclist and amateur photographer, Steve understood the importance of recreation in the development of a healthy lifestyle. The new position would prove a great vehicle for helping urban youth develop their own interests and passions. After carefully weighing his options, Steve decided to accept the organization’s offer. It positioned him to help as many boys and girls as if he were a physician.
In the mid-1980's, the board appointed him to oversee the Club's expansion into Brooklyn. Under his guidance, the organization embarked on a successful merger with the Navy Yard and Flatbush Boy's Clubs. After being named Assistant Associate Director in 1989, Steve was called on to partner with the New York City Housing Authority resulting in the creation of the Carey Gardens and Far Rockaway Clubhouses.
In 2001, Steve was promoted to his current title of Associate Executive Director. A graduate of Columbia University's Not-for-Profit Management Program, he currently serves on a variety of steering committees, including the National Organization of Boys & Girls Clubs. Approaching his 25-year anniversary with Madison, Steve reflects on his career with the organization. It truly speaks to his philosophy of "cyclical generosity."
As he puts it, "Proper guidance and support enable children to accomplish their life goals. These youngsters, in turn, can then positively impact society and rear a new generation that will perpetuate that same cycle of success."