Throughout Juan Perez’s childhood, the Boys and Girls Club (BGC) was more than just an after-school program. It was his second home. The Club kept him busy with productive activities and became a refuge from early struggles he experienced as a Puerto Rican child growing up in NY and MA.
“I told my mother many times that the Club saved my life. The only role models in the streets were gang members and drug dealers. The positive adults I needed growing up were all there at the BGC,” said Juan.
As an adult, Juan made it his mission to be one of those inspiring BGC adult figures. He began working with the organization in 2005, and little did he know that his passion would eventually earn him an Emmy Award, right here in Pittsburgh!
In 2020, like many organizations, the BGC of Western PA had to adapt to a new normal. Juan, now Sr. Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and other leaders revamped programs in a virtual format so children could continue learning and reaping benefits. They also held numerous drives to deliver over 3,000 food packages, hygiene kits, and more pandemic relief for Western PA families.
To do even more for the children during an unprecedented time, the BGCWPA decided to launch the ReMEMBER, ReIMAGINE, ReINVEST campaign. And that is when Juan Perez took to one of his other talents, writing a poem that would become the theme of the BGC 3R’s Poetry Slam commercial in partnership with award-winning director Emmai Alaquiva of Ya Momz House, Inc. and producer Elizabeth Speed. They were nominated and chosen as winners of the Commercial Single-Spot category.
Congratulations keep coming for Juan from friends, colleagues and family. Proud sister Natalie Lopez shared,
“Being Latino there are many obstacles that can make the road to success a difficult one, but being a Latino also means working hard and overcoming adversity with pride and conviction. So very proud of my brother and his journey, and for breaking barriers.”
On Instagram Juan expressed his gratitude, “All praises due. From PVE to where I am now has been a great journey thanks to @mom_mita for the love and support and always believing in me.”
We congratulate Juan Perez on his EMMY Award and his amazing journey with the BGC. Thank you for being an amazing example and leader for the Latino community in Pittsburgh.
To learn more about the BGCWPA visit https://www.bgcwpa.org/.