A Legacy Ends: Robert Ezelle Rose From Orphan to Influential Executive Advocating for Kids
Robert Ezelle, one of Kalamazoo County’s longest-serving nonprofit executives, is retiring from the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Kalamazooafter 30 years as executive director. His last day is Dec. 31. Ezelle, 68, tells WMUK's EarleneMcMichael on Thursday's WestSouthwest public-affairs show that he spent his formative years in foster homes. He says it wasn't until around age 12, when he was moved to a boy's residence and met a mentor, that he experienced genuine caring. That's why, Ezelle says, he strives to make every child coming through his doors feel "that they do belong" and insists his staff welcome them by name. (Click on icons to hear the interview, plus longer version.)
The Western Michigan University alum started at the Boys & Girls Club as a part-time game room and program director in the early ‘70s, within two years becoming associate director. In 1986, he assumed the directorship. Ezelle has received awards for his contributions to youth.