Meet John McGarry: The Person Behind our Flint Youth Initiative
John has served the City of Flint in so many capacities. Working in the Department of Community and Economic Development for many years, John has impacted more in this city than people will ever know. When he left the department, his work didn't stop. He worked with senior citizens to create programs to help them overcome barriers. Seeing the impact of his programs, he was able to modify them and receive a Department of Justice grant to help ex-offenders become gainfully employed. His work goes on and on and on.
Although officially retired, you won’t find John enjoying the summer on the porch of his Flint home. If you are hoping to track down the retired father of three, try Atwood Stadium, where he serves as the facility’s director, or at one of the City’s many youth recreational programs. You will be hard pressed to find someone that knows more about Flint’s history or its sporting opportunities than John. Instead of spending his golden years relaxing, he’s working hard to give youth a variety of opportunities to engage and grow. When the United Way launched its Flint Youth Recreation Initiative, there was no better person than John to act as its director.
There are amazing programs throughout Flint providing recreational activities to children year-round. From individual sports like boxing and biking to team baseball and hockey leagues. While budgets for these programs are small to non-existent; the dedication among the organizers is unmeasurable. Flint residents are taking a great deal of time and spending their own funds to give kids enriching recreational opportunities. The United Way’s Flint Youth Recreational Initiative was created to help these volunteer operated programs receive federal dollars to purchase items. Through this Initiative, programs have received uniforms, exercise equipment, balls, bats and so much more. Transportation costs, tournament fees, field, gym and ice time have all been covered by the Initiative. The program is funded by Federal Community Grant Block dollars allocated by the City of Flint. The United Way is able to take the management burden off the programs by processing all paperwork and purchases. The programs are able to do what they do best – helping kids have fun experiences but with brand new equipment! So instead of drinking lemonade on the porch, John is coordinating the purchases of little league baseball cleats, soccer nets, and tap shoes. The United Way is very proud to be able to support programs that get youth active. We are even more proud of the man that helps us make it happen.