The Oxon Hill Boys and Girls Club doesn’t look like much during the daytime, but the 1948 brick building comes alive at night and on the weekends for the 17 Road Runners teams that claim home court advantage.
Parents don’t seem to mind the vintage wood sign out front or the pothole-ridden driveway and parking lot; they want the positive outlet for their children. The club’s mission—found on its website—is “to inspire and enable all young people, especially those who need us the most, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens.”
President Donice Jones leads a staff of volunteers to keep the club operating for almost 650 players across seven different sports. County-wide, 3,000 volunteers serve 18,000 players, according to the Prince George’s County Boys and Girls Club website.
Servant leadership is Jones’ style; she is as comfortable serving snacks as she is picking up uniforms or attending monthly meetings with the 34 other clubs in the county.
Each club has its own by-laws, as does the parent county organization, founded in 1940 as a Police Boys Club. The Oxon Hill Club was first organized as a Boys Club in 1964, changing its name in 1976 to include both genders.
Jones grew up in Northeast Washington, D.C, graduating from (then) McKinley Technical High School. She moved to Fort Washington, an unincorporated census-designated place, as a newlywed in 1988.
Jones began work 28 years ago with the FCC right after high school, where she is as a consumer education and outreach specialist, a union shop steward, and EEO specialist. Working, volunteering, and pursuing a degree, Jones earned a B.S. in Computer Science from Strayer University in 2014. Not surprisingly, she maintains the club’s website.
She first came to the Oxon Hill Club eight years ago to sign up her son for football. She quickly jumped in where needed, becoming a team mom. Highly organized, Jones took care of the paperwork—like player identification requirements and keeping parents organized—so the coach could concentrate on the players and games.
Jones calls herself an “A-B-C type person; so I want things in line,” to make sure they get done correctly; like tracking down the permissions necessary to post club flyers in schools.
Jones went from team mom to positions on the board, beginning as secretary, about four years ago: “My son was playing basketball at the time and the vice president asked me… if I could be the secretary and I said, ‘Sure.’”
Jones is thankful others share her sense of giving.
“I have relied on my athletic director and my vice president because of their knowledge,” she said, referring to Courtney Pullen—who grew up in the club and volunteered as a coach before her 10-year stint as the AD; and vice president Douglas Burrell, who has been president and football commissioner.
Jones saved her biggest praises for 77-year-old soccer and girls basketball commissioner Joe Jones, whose coaching spans three decades. Students come from all over—even Virginia—to learn from Joe Jones, who is not related to Donice Jones. Coach Hill, who has also been with the club 30 years, also “coached our coaches,” the club’s president said.
“I’ve always been more community oriented,” Jones said. Her father and grandparents were in the service; Jones’ son is headed for the Air Force. Jones credits her mother and grandmother for raising her in “a community and family-oriented environment,” and her godparents’ example of service with Langley Recreation Center in D.C.
Dedication to community and “wanting to see the kids succeed is what keeps me coming back to the Boys and Girls Club each year,” Jones wrote in an email to the AFRO.