Manny Ayala, a 20-year employee at the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence, and Gary Halloran, founder and president of Par 4 Technology Group in Wakefield, were inducted into the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence Alumni Hall of Fame at the organization’s recent 24th Hall of Fame reception.
Ayala and Halloran join 65 of the club’s most prominent alumni in the Hall of Fame, all of whom share loyalty and continued commitment to youth. Recipients are honored for their reputations, professional achievements, service and career contributions, and impact on the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence. Their names and careers are posted on the Alumni Hall of Fame Wall, along with the saying, “If you can dream it, you can do it!”
Markus Fischer, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence, said that Ayala and Halloran are role models for the thousands of children served each year. “We are proud to celebrate the outstanding achievements of these alumni,” Fischer said. “They represent the best of what the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence stands for.”
The 14th of 15 children in his family, Ayala said he is a “Lawrence kid through and through” who was born and raised on Hancock Street, close by the projects. He attended the Lawrence Public Schools all but his last year of high school, when he transferred and graduated from Miami Senior High School in Florida. Ayala then returned to his hometown, where he still lives, and became an outreach worker at the Teen Coalition of the Greater Lawrence Community Action Council, Inc.
Ayala joined the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence part-time in 1993, supervising the wrestling room and overseeing the game room. He became the social recreation director in 1995, and moved up the ladder the following year to boys’ program director. Since being named director of program services in 2006, he has coordinated programs and activities for more than 500 youth on a daily basis.
Ayala’s previous honors include being inducted into the ABA (Academic Basketball Awareness) Hall of Fame in 2007, and named the Grand Marshall for the Semana Hispana in Lawrence in 2011.
Ayala said that the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence has remained an important part of his life since he became a member in 1977.
“The club was always a second home for me, since the day I joined. As a youth member, I attended almost every day, enjoying all the programs the club had to offer. Programs from fun and games like basketball and swim team, to programs that taught leadership skills and decision-making like Keystone and Torch Club,” he said. “Today, I am thrilled to be able to provide those same programs, as well as many more, to the kids at the club, including my own. I am extremely proud to be a part of one of the best youth-serving agencies in the state.”
Halloran, the oldest of seven children, was raised in South Lawrence. He attended St. Patrick’s Grammar School, Central Catholic High School, and the University of Massachusetts-Lowell. Halloran began his career as a technology sales representative at Digital Equipment Corporation. After several years of global sales and business leadership positions at Digital, Sun Microsystems, Calico Commerce, and NEXL Systems, he founded Par 4 Technology Group.
Now a resident of Boston, Halloran recalls that the only thing that mattered to him as a kid was playing basketball and meeting new friends. “Through sport and new friendships, I learned many life lessons that have made me an all-around better person, dad, and businessman. Team building, leadership, problem-solving, empathy, and a ferocious desire to compete and win have helped form my identity,” he said. “Today, I am very honored and proud to support the club in any way possible. I’ve seen first-hand the assistance and support provided to kids who need serious help. Whether it’s mentoring students, funding scholarships, or feeding kids a nourishing meal, the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence is always there.”
The Alumni Association of the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence is a group of alumni who value the importance of the organization and share a commitment to the continuous development and improvement of its services for the youth of Lawrence.
About the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence
The Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence provides a safe, after-school place for more than 3,200 youth (ages 7 to 18) to come for hot meals, homework assistance, fitness and nutrition programs, college and career planning, and lasting personal relationships. The club offers critical programs that focus on academic success, healthy lifestyles, and community involvement at two locations: the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence at 136 Water St., and the Beacon Boys & Girls Club at 71 Duckett Ave. For more information, call Director of Development Dennis McCarthy at (978) 683-2747, ext. 118 or visit www.lawrencebgc.com.