Bright, bubbly and business-like, that's how Genevieve Babecki rolls.|
The unique mix is why -- at just 24 years old -- Babecki is director of development for the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Mississippi Valley.
She is bright enough to have mastered three languages while growing up in various outposts across the globe, understand the impact the Boys & Girls Club of the Mississippi Valley has on the Quad-Cities and savvy enough to stand toe-to-business-toe with corporate heads and community leaders.
And bubbly enough to know there is good in all of us and that it's mandatory to laugh at yourself.
"What a great organization I get to represent,'' said Babecki, who landed the post with the Boys & Girls Club last July. "I was that youngster who relied on an after-school program at the YMCA, having lost my mother at a young age. I understand how vital the Boys & Girls Club is to a community. And I have seen the positive impact the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Mississippi Valley has on the Quad-Cities.''
The journey to reach the Quad-Cities has been unique for Babecki, who lives in Davenport with her boyfriend, James. She has lived in Canada, China, Ecuador and assorted metropolitan areas in the United States. The Quad-Cities, she said, is the perfect place to put down roots and chase plenty of dreams.
"My father's job and then opportunities through Syracuse University allowed me to live and experience various cultures up close,'' said Babecki. "The Quad-Cities is an amazing place, a tremendous cultural hub, with some amazing and caring people, great restaurants, plenty of things to do. I have been welcomed and accepted here, and that is not always the case in some places.''
In a job where you seek support -- whether it be through in-kind services or through donated dollars -- Babecki gets it.
She understands the importance of reaching 200-plus young people per day, nearly 1,500 overall with sites in Iowa and Illinois, as the Boys & Girls Club does. And she knows she has landed in a community that takes a keen ownership in its youth.
"We have a committed and dedicated board of directors,'' she said. "We have a great staff and a community that takes ownership in our message and our goals. I'll use our new teen center, 'The Club,' (set to open later this month) as one example. I have knocked on may doors and will knock on many more, but the people of this community are receptive.''
At 24, Babecki is as goal-oriented as the next person, but she has an athlete's approach to what is before her. One day, one step, one mission at a time.
"I'm in a great place in a job that is both rewarding and challenging,'' she said. "I like it here. I'm taking things as they come. I'm happy, and I'm fortunate. You can't ask for much more.''
Columnist John Marx can be reached at (309) 757-8388 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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