To some people, “paying it forward” means surprising the car behind you in the drive-through line by springing for their cup of coffee. It’s a lovely act of kindness, and when you’re the recipient, it’s a bright spot in your day. But to Delia and John Haefeli, paying it forward is so much more than a once-in-a-while treat it’s an all-encompassing philosophy, and a guiding force in their lives. Because of their generous financial support of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Weld County, and their longtime commitment to the Club and its members, Delia and John are truly a bright spot in our every day.
The Club has been a part of John’s life for as far back as he can remember. He’s a Greeley native—only leaving long enough to earn his undergraduate degree at CSU—and he’s still in close contact with some of the guys he played baseball with as a Club member in the late ’60s and early ’70s. His mother, Julianne, was the Club’s first female board member around that time, and John went on to serve on the board for 18 years. For the Haefelis, Club involvement has always been a family affair.
John says he has especially enjoyed watching how the Club has evolved over the past 50 years, “morphing” to fit the needs of young people (including welcoming girls in 1984). “At first, it was focused on activity, keeping kids busy, and that was a good thing. But now it has become more focused on education, with an emphasis on the whole child and the development of future leaders.”
After having spent nearly 80 years in education combined, Delia and John are unwavering about their commitment to helping young people succeed, and we’re incredibly grateful that they recently included the Club in their estate. They’ve been fortunate, they explain, and their goal is to give back to the community in every way they can.
John is currently serving his second term as a Director on the Greeley-Evans School District 6 Board of Education, sits on five other boards, and spent his career teaching middle-level and high school social studies, followed by a stint working with teacher candidates at UNC. Delia began her teaching career in special education, followed by time as an elementary educator. She concluded her career in D6 as a middle-level math teacher and retired in 2017. She “failed” at retirement for three years, as she kept returning to help the district. Her last hurrah will be as coach of the girls’ basketball team at Winograd K-8 this winter.
Delia and John also appreciate how the Club represents diversity of Greeley and Evans. “The ability to get along with a diverse population is invaluable,” he says, adding that teaching young people how to connect helps them be more successful in life.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Weld County would like to sincerely thank Delia and John Haefeli for their passion, their commitment, and their assistance in helping the Club continue providing a welcoming, positive environment for kids and teens in our community.