Boys and Girls Club director makes providing hope to Joliet-area youth his number-one pastime
Boys and Girls Club of Joliet Executive Director Kahlil Diab has been helping improve the lives of young individuals since joining the organization 10 years ago.
“I want to make a difference for the youth in our community that often have no voice,” Diab told Will County Gazette. “Many of the youth that we serve reside in homeless shelters, are in the foster care system, or come from single-parent homes that are below the poverty line. I want to make sure that they have a fighting chance in this world. I have a great deal of empathy for any child that has to struggle, and I want to do anything that I can to help alleviate the pressure that a child may feel when going through adversity.”
Diab started working at the club as a tutor in 2009. He became executive director in 2014.
“My favorite thing about this job is the day-to-day interaction with youth as well as the planning for bigger and better things for the club in the future,” Diab said. “I want to make sure that the kids that need us most in our community continue to have a safe place to learn and grow after school and in the summer. The club represents hope and opportunity to a large number of youth in Joliet and surrounding cities. I want to make sure that the club serves as a hub to all of the wonderful opportunities in the world for youth that may not otherwise have a chance to participate in due to financial constraints.”
One of these recent opportunities was a Boy Scout troop and pack that was chartered by the Boys and Girls Club through a partnership with the Rainbow Council and funded by United Way of Will County.
“I am proud that we are able to offer our multitude of services at the club for a nominal fee of $30 per year, which includes all amenities, partner programs and meals,” Diab said. “I want to make sure that the organization continues to grow in terms of partnerships, initiatives and influence. I want to make sure that our aging building continues to be improved, particularly our indoor swimming pool, which happens to be the only youth dedicated swimming pool on the east side of Joliet.”
Diab was born and raised in Joliet, and is currently a resident of Crest Hill. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of St. Francis and has multiple financial certifications. He previously worked for MetLife and Fifth Third Bank.
Diab is a member of the Community Services Council and Joliet Alliance for Youth, and a former member of the Kiwanis Club of Joliet.
“As many executive directors of nonprofit organizations will tell you, there is not much spare time with this position,” Diab said. “Late nights and weekends come with the territory and the job is on your mind 24/7. I am an avid basketball fan and enjoy going to Chicago Bulls games when I have time. Other than that, the club serves as not only a job but it is also a hobby of mine, as crazy as that sounds.”