John C. Sams IV
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor
What Does Your Company/Organization Do?
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor has been helping kids aged 6–18 create Great Futures. In addition to recreational and extracurricular activities, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor provides after-school tutoring to put kids on a path for academic success, mentoring to guide members to create good character and leadership, and proven programming for youth to have access to healthy lifestyles.
Most of my accomplishments come from others winning. I have worked for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor for five years and in those years I have seen many youth go on and lead successful lives. I’ve been part of members receiving academic scholarships. I’ve watched colleagues step into their greatness and become their most authentic selves. I’ve been a part of the members becoming amazing mothers and fathers. I’ve been on the front line of changing and bettering the community that I grew up in and love. I am proud of my accomplishments because my accomplishments give others a platform and an opportunity to eventually have accomplishments of their own.
What else do you hope to accomplish by the age of 40?
I hope to create a fully functional free driver education program at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor. Many of the youth in Benton Harbor don’t have access to driver’s education but I hope to provide it to 14 to 16-year-olds in the area at no cost to their families.
Another one of my goals is to become a published author of a book on fatherhood. I feel it is important to leave a legacy for my children; one that involves generational wealth. I plan to cover those topics amongst others.
- Benton Harbor High School Class of 2003
- Bachelors in Business Management from Manchester University.
- Masters of Science in Instruction and Curriculum.
Benton Harbor, MI
Where were you born?
St. Joseph, MI
What was your first job?
My first job was picking strawberries on a farm. I quit the next day.
Best advice you ever got?
My younger cousin said this to me when we were 14 years old. I didn’t understand it then but I understand now: “Think small and you will never live large.” — Aaron Yarbrough
Who inspires you most?
My mother inspires me, but my kids motivate me to strive for better.
That one thing about you we’d be most surprised to learn.
Some people may be surprised to know that I am a novice handyman. I believe in another life, I would have been a carpenter.
What do you love to do in your downtime?
I love to travel and spend time with my kids, JV and Devyn.
What book are you reading now?
The Decision by Kevin Hart
Volunteer activity you love the most.
I really don’t have a favorite volunteer activity. I truly love helping people and when my spirit convicts me to move, I do so.
What motivates you to give back to your community?
I absolutely love seeing young people grow into successful citizens. They just need a little push in the right direction. I think together we can change this community but we all have to do our part.
What Superpower would you most love to have?
My superpower would be the ability to enhance people by stripping away people’s fears and doubts so they can go after the one thing that’s holding them back from reaching greatness.
What has been the most eye-opening thing about the coronavirus pandemic for you, personally?
It has been extremely eye-opening to see how it took the world to be put on lockdown and everything coming to a halt for people to truly appreciate the simplicity and beauty of life. I personally came to the realization that I was busy just for the sake of being busy. Moving forward I plan to be more intentional in my daily interactions.
What does the honor of being named to the 40 Under 40 most mean to you?
It is with great pleasure and an honor to be named Moody’s 40 under 40. It gives me added boosts to continue to help the community that I love. Working in youth development you don’t seek validation but it’s amazing that people do recognize you for your efforts. I hope this award can motivate others to seek out their passions and work tirelessly to achieve their goals.