Boys and Girls Clubs of Kentuckiana President & CEO Knows Firsthand the Positive Impact of the Organization
Writer / Cassady Lamb
The Louisville metropolitan area is home to over 1.3 million people who are spread out on almost 400 square miles. The 2020 U.S. Census shows that 22.5% of the metro population consists of people under the age of 18.
Many of these youths that fall into the 18 and under category could be classified as underserved. A boom of realization hit Louisville following the pandemic–there were not many options for children who come from underserved communities or families to get help to thrive in life.
The Boys and Girls Clubs of Kentuckiana (BGCK) has been a pioneer in working with the youth since 1950.
The Kentuckiana chapter of the club, consisting of Kentucky’s Jefferson County and Indiana’s Clark and Floyd counties, has three staple clubs around the metropolitan area with a fourth club on the way.
There are 4,300 Boys and Girls Clubs of America and club-affiliates all around the U.S., including Native American reservations and military bases. The club also has a presence in 16 other countries and collectively serve nearly 4 million youth.
In February of 2022, BGCK hired Daryle Unseld Jr. as president and CEO.
Unseld’s most recent job was with Metro United Way for more than 11 years. Before that, Unseld served over 11 years active duty for the U.S. Air Force and then was the program director at the YMCA of Greater Louisville.
Upon leaving Louisville for 11 and a half years as an airman, he returned in 2005, and in 2010 landed a leadership position at Metro United Way.
Unseld came into Metro United Way as a regional manager in community impact and left the organization as chief equity and impact officer.
He studied at the University of Louisville where he received a Bachelor of Science degree, and at Saint Leo University where he received his Master of Business Administration.
February wasn’t the first time BGCK has seen Unseld. He attended the Club as a child and worked at the organization as a teenager.
According to Unseld, this position at BGCK was an opportunity come full circle, having grown up as a Club kid.
“It’s an awesome opportunity to use my passions to lead this legacy organization,” Unseld says.
His employment track record shows that he has a tried and true heart for the betterment of Louisville.
Coming up on his one year of working at the Club, Unseld was excited to share the changes that he has seen during this time.
“We are excited that we are renovating three of our brick-and-mortar clubs,” Unseld says. “We are opening a brand new club next month in the California neighborhood– the California Boys and Girls Club.”
The Club is partnering with St. Stephens Church to host youths at the church’s life center on the third floor.
The official opening day of the new club is January 9th. The organization held a Christmas party there two weeks prior, alongside hosting other Christmas parties at the preexisting clubs.
Unself describes the mission of the Boys and Girls Club of Kentuckiana as “meeting the needs of young people where they are.”
He is very passionate about the mission of the Club because he has experienced it in his own life and now, he is wanting to continue the mission under his leadership.
“The Boys and Girls Club helped me reach my full potential,” Unseld says.
To the adults that poured into Unseld while he was growing up, he says his actions can express his gratitude.
“One of the best ways I can say thank you is by modeling the way that these people poured into me,” he says.
Unseld grew up in Lousville, and behind his titles, it is visibly obvious that he has a strong heart for the youth residing in the city.
“I think that young people deserve to be the architects of their own condition,” he said.
With a good chunk of his life spent involved in the Boys and Girls Club, Unseld has a lot of great things to express regarding the organization.
“Being exposed to caring adults, quality programs and providing me opportunities that I would not have without the club gave me the ability to see outside of my own neighborhood,” Unseld says.
The Boys and Girls Clubs of Kentuckiana is hosting a first of its kind fundraiser on January 5th. Deion Sanders, the Pro Football Hall of Famer and new head football coach at the University of Colorado Boulder is speaking at the event alongside Unseld.
Sanders played 14 seasons in the NFL. He is the only athlete to ever compete in the Super Bowl and World Series. He has multiple athletic titles and awards, but among all his athletic standings, the renowned coach is a Boys and Girls Club alumni.
Unseld said that he is super excited about the fundraiser.
The fundraiser, named the Great Futures Sneaker Ball, will be hosted on the evening of March 25, 2023, at Norton Healthcare Sports and Learning Center.
The gala is black tie optional, and guests are to wear their favorite sneaker with their outfit for the night.
The funds raised from the gala will help open doors to great futures for young people ages 6 – 18 in Kentuckiana,
The Boys and Girls Clubs of Kentuckiana is passionate about catering to the metro youth and Daryle Unseld’s heart hits all three components that the Club holds: celebrating diversity, ensuring equity and fostering inclusion.
The children of Kentuckiana have a huge supporter in the clubs, especially under fervid guidance.
Unseld has some things that he would like to see in the club in 2023.
“I want to grow our footprint and serve more people in the Louisville area,” Unseld says.
“There are not enough resources for the young people here… I want more young people to experience the mission of the Boys and Girls Club.”
For more information, please visit www.bgcky.org/.