Jon & Heather Volpe Receive Click for Kids Award
By Christy Krueger
Photo: Jon & Heather Volpe
Photo by: Carter Allen
Thirty-plus years ago Jon Volpe spent every day after school at what is today known as Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson.
Now, as CEO of NOVA Home Loans, he’s one of the organization’s most generous contributors. For that, the clubs are acknowledging his support.
Volpe and his wife, Heather, were selected as this year’s recipients of the Click for Kids Award, created in 2009 in honor of long-time supporter Jim Click. The award recognizes an individual, couple or organization that has made a substantial impact on club members.
“It’s easy to give your money, and Jon Volpe and his wife, Heather, and their company have obviously been very financially supportive of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson and many other charities,” Click said. “However, to give of your time, energy and effort on the board, raising money and bringing awareness to the club like Jon and Heather have done is truly a gift of the heart. I congratulate them on receiving this wonderful award.”
Volpe is a prime example of the positive influence the BGCT makes on Tucson’s youth. He believes that without its support, he might have ended up in a bad place as others without direction often do.
“My older brother opted not to go there and he’s been in and out of prison since he was 17. Had I not gone to the clubs, I probably would have tagged along with my brother and wouldn’t be where I am today. It kept me off the streets and was a place to hang out.”
Heather added, “It’s a way for kids to stop the cycle of dysfunction. People take them under their wing and show them things they wouldn’t otherwise experience.”
While Volpe didn’t continue at the clubs in high school because of his participation in sports, BGCT and its mentors were still part of his life.
“I wanted to go to football camp and didn’t have the money. Jim Click sponsored me to go. He wrote a check. I received awards in high school and he was always there, remembering my name and encouraging me,” Volpe said of the man he considers his hero.
Click’s involvement continued after high school, when Volpe earned a four-year football scholarship to Stanford University as a running back, leading the Pac-10 Conference in rushing one year. Volpe went on to play in the Canadian Football League and in the National Football League with the Pittsburg Steelers until an injury sent him home and he began working at NOVA Financial. Meanwhile he had married Heather, whom he met while both attended Amphitheater High School.
Once he was settled back in Tucson and earning a steady living, Volpe started to look around and appreciate how far he’d come. “I wanted to give back because of the support I received – from teachers, coaches, Jim Click, Boys & Girls Clubs. We started giving financially.”
Later, NOVA began sponsoring major club fundraisers and the couple started volunteering as judges for the clubs’ Youth of the Year Awards.
“It’s a very emotional day,” said Heather. “You get to hear what they do for the kids.”
For Jon, the kids’ stories bring back memories of when he was in their shoes. “Listening to their backgrounds, I can relate to what they say. That was me – I was in the same situation.”
Quite appropriately, Click was the person who notified Volpe about his selection for the Click for Kids Award.
“It meant a lot to me that he told me – because I grew up wanting to someday be like him and helping the Jon Volpes of the world. Nobody does that more than Jim Click.”