Some would scoff at the idea of leaving a well-paying management job with a successful company for an after-school children's program in a small town.
Anthony Brock, unit director for Auburn Boys & Girls Clubs, wouldn't care.
Brock has worked with the club a total of 10 years, beginning his time as the athletics director from 1998-2004 while he attended Tuskegee University. During his time in college, he commuted to Auburn, his hometown, to visit family and work with the youth at the Boys & Girls Clubs.
"I understand these kids," Brock said. "I'm a product of this community. I grew up here, I walked these streets, and I played in these projects."
From 2001–04, he juggled school, his position at the club and a position at Yarbrough Elementary School.
One summer during his college years, Brock's father got him a factory job filling plastic tubes with M&Ms. Both of his parents worked factory positions their entire lives, so Brock took the job to see what they had experienced.
During one of his 12-hour shifts, Brock fell asleep standing as his fellow employees watched as the candy poured to the ground.
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"My parents had jobs like that my entire life, and I struggled with one summer," Brock said. "It made me respect them so much more, because I was athletic, young and still had problems."
After graduating from Tuskegee with a degree in business administration and political science, he was offered a management position at Walgreens pharmaceutical company in Montgomery.
"When you graduate from college and someone offers you a job, you take it," Brock said. "A lot of my friends were not getting jobs right out of college."
Walgreens opened a new store in Auburn, where Brock was transferred to.
Brock said working in Auburn again helped him realize his passion of the children at the club.
"Kids and their parents from the club would come into my store and ask me why I wouldn't come to the club," Brock said.
The job at Walgreens left little to no time to help out at the club, Brock said.
Brock kept an eye out for positions at the Auburn Boys & Girls Clubs and with the help of Wanda Lewis, president of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Lee County, that position was brought to Brock's attention.
Brock said the money was good, but he knew he wasn't meant for the job.
"I gave Walgreens a two-week notice and told them I couldn't do it anymore," Brock said. "I felt like I was cheating the company because my heart wasn't in it. I knew what I wanted to do, and Ms. Wanda helped me get back."
Most of Brock's time is now dedicated to the club. His wife, April Brock, has invested much of her time with children while working as the assistant principal of Opelika Middle School.
Brock has a 16 year-old son and a 7-year-old daughter. Both kids thoroughly enjoy spending time at the Auburn Boys & Girls Clubs. Brock said for spring break vacation, his daughter would have rather spent time in the club than go to the beach.
Brock has worked to expand the club in order to keep kids off the streets. According to Brock, Michael Johnson, fellow Boys & Girls Clubs worker, and Brock go from door-to-door speaking with parents and encouraging them to sign their children up for the club.
"They know who I am when the open the door, and they know why I'm there," Brock said. "Most of the time they sign their kid up within a week of me being on their doorstep."
Brock doesn't regret leaving his management job, because he loves the community and the kids at the club.
"I'm happy to come to work every day, and not many people can say that," Brock said.
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