BUFFALO, NY- Daybreak loves celebrating the "Great Kids" that make Western New York a better place to live. This week's "Great Kid" is one of the many success stories from the Boys and Girls Club of Buffalo.
For Dialo Rivera-Stevens, 18, the Boys and Girls Club is much more than just a place to play baSketball.
"This is my second home. I love the Boys and Girls Club," he said.
He admits when he was younger, he struggled in school, got into trouble and turned to the streets. He recalls it all changed in one instant when he was 13-years-old and was about to attack someone with a knife.
"I looked at him and I said, 'I can't do this today.' So I turned around and I threw the knife in the bushes. Yes, I was upset, but at the end of the day I knew that decision was going to help my future become what I wanted it to be," said Dialo.
He says he made the right decision that day, in part, because of the mentors who believed in him at the Boys and Girls Club.
"When I came here it made me feel really good. It made me feel good about myself, and people actually cared and wanted me to succeed in life," he said.
Dialo has since been recognized as the Youth of the Year for the Boys and Girls Club of Buffalo. He also took first place in the Western New York Youth of the Year competition and he placed second in the state competition. He graduated from Riverside High School and the vet tech program at BOCES. This fall, Dialo will begin studying criminal justice at Medaille College where he earned a full scholarship. Dialo plans to continue to work with the Boys and Girls Club though so he can motivate other kids and give back.
"I want to show people that Buffalo does have youth that are rising and that are going to be leaders in the future."
The CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of Buffalo, Shari McDonough, says the kids love being mentored by Dialo and he serves as a great role model.
"He tells them, 'you can do it too.' He'll say, 'stop messing up' or he'll say 'pay attention' or 'work harder on your homework' and he mentors them right along with us," said McDonough. "Dialo is an amazing young man."
Dialo says he's here for a reason.
"I'm here to make a difference and I know God is going to put me in a place to help me do that. So I've got to keep pushing in life and grinding at all times," he said.
Dialo said when he was at the Boys and Girls Club, he knew he'd be safe, he'd have a hot meal, and he'd be given the tools he needs to succeed like school supplies for class. Every year he'd get a backpack from WGRZ's 2 Pack a Backpack drive.
That drive is happening Friday, August 17, 2018 and 2 On Your Side is collecting donations at 9 Walmarts across Western New York all day long. The school supply donations will then be packed up into bookbags and delivered to children in Western New York...kids just like Dialo.