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  • Fairbury News staff

Curl, youth address breakfast

Matt Curl gave the keynote address Wednesday at the Great Futures Breakfast in Fairbury.

Those attending the Boys & Girls Club of Livingston County’s annual Great Futures Breakfast heard powerful youth messages and learned the organization saves countless lives.

“Great futures start here,” explained BGCLC CEO Jodi Martin during Wednesday’s event in Fairbury.

Martin said the club helps young people reach their fullest potential and is there to ensure current and future generations have hope and opportunities.

Keynote speaker was Matt Curl, owner and promoter of the Fairbury Speedway. He noted it was been more than 30 years since he was inside the club gym shooting baskets.

“One of the things that is important to me is Fairbury,” Curl said.

Curl feels the speedway here has the most community support in the industry and admits it is impressive to see how many different people come to Fairbury, which has one of the top races in the country with the Prairie Dirt Classic.

“It would not be here without the support of our community.”

Curl and his crew are excited to bring another country star to town this May with a concert from Lee Brice planned. He looks forward to what the future holds.

“It’s really only the beginning,” added Curl.

Junior Youth of the Year Emmalee, who is on the robotics team, shared her story. She is the oldest of three siblings and has been a member of the club for seven years. Emalee enjoys volleyball, art projects and taking to friends.

“Growing up, I was bullied a lot,” she admitted. “Once I came to the club, things started to change.”

Emmalee believes no one should be judged for being themselves and she has always found a way to push through and come out on top.

“You can’t please everyone so start by making yourself happy.”

Youth of the Year Julian, who is 14, has a favorite spot in the club gym since it helps him deal with his feelings on a daily basis. The club has helped push him along, since he has dealt with depression.

“I can say this club has helped save my life,” said Julian.

Julian hopes to be there for future generations the way his family, friends and the club have been there for him.

“My goal by the end of this year is to change at least one person’s life.”

Boys & Girls Club of Livingston County board president Sue Popejoy is astounded with the stories and impact the clubs have on our communities. She had the opportunity to head to our nation’s capital to meet with Congress on the importance of the club.

“I was honored to be a voice for rural communities in Illinois.”

Popejoy noted we have a strong community which never gives up on the mission of kids.

“We are seeing more mental health issues and food insecurity among the youth,” she said.

Many local youth will not go home hungry as they have a home-cooked meal each night.

“Hopefully, you see the changes we are making in the communities,” concluded Martin.

Jodi Martin speaks to the crowd at the Boys & Girls Club breakfast Wednesday in Fairbury.

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