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The Ball State Daily

An unexpected calling: The Boys and Girls Clubs of Muncie became his life’s work 

Domenic Bordenaro reads to a child at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Muncie, where he has served as the director of programs since August 2022.
Domenic Bordenaro reads to a child at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Muncie, where he has served as the director of programs since August 2022.

By: Zach Gonzalez 

Dominic Bordenaro graduated from Ball State University in 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The political science major struggled to secure a job in politics, so he took a position at the Youth Opportunity Center in Muncie. The Indiana native said he “grew a heart for working with at-risk youth” at the residential treatment facility that provides services for children and their families. 

That passion led him to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Muncie, where he started in 2021 as a has served as director of programs since August 2022. He manages the clubs’ budget, supervises the site directors and sets both the mission and goals for a range of enrichment and academic programs and outreach events.  

“This work opened my eyes to see things I had never seen before, to see kids from all kinds of walks of life, and to support kids from all walks of life,” said Bordenaro, who also served as the clubs’ teen director, among other roles. “It really opened me up to being part of a community and to developing a love for a city I'm not from.” 

Nurturing productive, caring and responsible citizens 

Bordenaro said the clubs’ primary focus is on its after school program, which provides children with guidance and resources focused on academic and career success, healthy lifestyles, character and leadership.  

“We provide a safe place for kids to be after school. We have a lot of kids that go home, to broken families that go home to families that are working multiple jobs where parents aren't necessarily home all the time,” said Bordenaro, who is originally from Evansville, Indiana, but now calls Muncie home. “Kids need a safe place to be themselves, to experience things that they wouldn't experience otherwise.” 

The clubs also support parents. 

“Our parents who work multiple jobs need somebody to pick their kids up from school. We provide that,” he said. “They need somebody who can sit down and tutor their kids one-on-one or in small groups. We provide that. We provide meals to all of our kids every day.” 

Staff ‘meet each kid where they are’ 

Jason Newman, CEO of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Muncie, said staff get to know the needs of each family and the interests of each kid. They meet each kid where they are and connect with them about what they want to do with their lives.  

“Boys and Girls Clubs of Muncie was created to give kids the opportunity and the assistance into making the most out of their lives,” Newman said. “Not to choose for them, but to present them with the opportunity so that they can work for themselves and say, ‘This is what I want to be when I grow up and this is how I get there.’” 

The club provides various programs with opportunities for children to learn about and engage in subjects based on their interests, including STEM, music, art, science and sports. The club also provides college visits to talk with college students and faculty to learn about the path to higher education. 

“When they identify a career as something they want to do, and they see the path toward that, now it's not a dream; it's a goal,” Newman said. “It wouldn't do any good if I told them they needed to go or they should go to graduate school. It's when somebody who's doing something really cool makes them want to do it that really helps them grow the most.” 

Honest, daily communication  

Newman said Boys and Girls Clubs’ staff and volunteers earn the trust of parents and kids through honest, daily communication. And it’s never all bad, Newman added. 

“When we talk with parents, we don’t just tell them about the bad things their kids did, but we give them an accurate picture of what their kids' day was like,” he said. “When we do have to say the bad things, the parent knows that we know and appreciate their child.” 

Newman said far too many people underestimate the intelligence, maturity, flexibility, resourcefulness, strength and selflessness of children. Newman sand Bordenaro and the rest of the staff empower kids to reach their full potential. 

“Kids are so much better at multitasking than people my age, and so we tend to think sometimes that we're not getting the respect because kids aren't showing it the way we were raised to show it,” Newman said. “Our kids are paying a lot more attention and they hear a lot more of what we're saying than we think they are.” 

The need for support 

Newman said the clubs cannot operate without the generosity of volunteers and funders. The clubs offer a range of volunteer opportunities for any interest and time committment. People can donate online through a one-time, monthly or annual donation as well as planned gifts and stock gifts. The clubs also work with employers to offer matching, corporate sponsorships and fundraisers. Newman said people can even donate their cars to support the clubs’ work. 

“We are upfront about what we do well, and we're upfront about our struggles,” Newman said. “There are a lot of things that we'd like to do that we simply can't afford to because our fees are low. Cost is not allowed to be a barrier to anybody accessing our services.” 

Bordenaro said the team makes the most of its resources, however limited, to stay focused on the roughly 1,000 kids they serve across Delaware County. Providing children with what they need to succeed in life is his calling, and it’s the calling of the clubs. 

“I want to be where I'm needed the most, and that's here right now,” Bordenaro said. “About 80% of the families we serve fall below the median income level, and I think the kids we see and serve are the ones who need mentors, resources and support.” 

Learn more about the clubs and how to support their efforts at Email Bordenaro at or Newman at for a tour to see the clubs and learn how to support the kids. 

Inform Muncie articles are written by students in the School of Journalism and Strategic Communication in a classroom environment with a faculty adviser.

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