Juan J. Ongay

When the Finish Line Boys & Girls Club was built in 2016, it was the first new club built in Indianapolis in 20 years. Juan J. Ongay, already a director at another club, jumped at the chance to bring change to a neighborhood in great need. As unit director of the new club, he significantly increased the number of children served – from 180 to 280 in just one year.

“Juan has been an amazing person to work with from the day we committed $1.25 million to building the club – from breaking ground on the property, to opening the doors,” Ongay’s nominator, Sarah McInerney said. “Juan gives an unbelievable amount of passion, dedication, time and talent to this club and partnership. He knows the Boys & Girls Clubs are more than just a place to play after school. He lives and breathes their mission of providing great futures.”

As unit director, Ongay oversees a variety of programs and activities within the club and often works in areas that need extra support. When the club is understaffed, or an employee does not show up, he frequently steps in to help by serving meals or assisting with the programs.

Over the past two summers, Ongay partnered with the Finish Line Youth Foundation for events like Fun in the Sun and Play Unified Day. Fun in the Sun is an end of the summer celebration that provides more than 600 children with backpacks and school supplies for the upcoming school year. Play Unified Day brings together Special Olympic athletes, Boys & Girls Club children and Finish Line employees to connect over a day of playing basketball.

Ongay is also a member of a Masonic lodge and volunteers his time to help his Franklin Township community by putting on fundraising events, such as a haunted house. The money raised from these fundraising events goes back into the community to support Franklin Township families. Ongay encourages everyone to make time to give back to their community because giving even a small amount of time can make a big difference.

“If you’re a pet lover, you can volunteer at the animal shelter,” Ongay said. “If you like kids, there are organizations that work with young people. Find something you’re passionate about and go out there and do it! There are only 24 hours in the day, and you can’t extend it. But, there’s a little bit of time during your week that you can spare – even just one hour – to change somebody’s life.”