DJ Lockwood, a unit director at the Arlington Boys & Girls Club, is an Emerging Leader finalist. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

DJ Lockwood, a unit director at the Arlington Boys & Girls Club, is an Emerging Leader finalist. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

DJ Lockwood: Helping the community care for its kids

As director of the Arlington Boys & Girls Club, Lockwood has extended the club’s programs to more locations and more kids.

This is one of 12 finalists for The Herald Business Journal’s annual Emerging Leaders awards for 2024. The winner will be named at an event on April 17.

DJ Lockwood, 33

Unit director, Arlington Boys & Girls Club

When it comes to helping kids, DJ Lockwood isn’t satisfied with the status quo.

“I took over a pretty big club at the Arlington location and wasn’t satisfied where we were at,” said Lockwood, who serves as unit director at the Arlington Boys & Girls Club.

For one thing, there was a long waiting list. “Obviously, if the need is there for child care, we want to be able to answer that need and make sure the kids are being watched and looked out for,” he said.

For another, there was a shortage of available school buses.

Instead of busing kids to the club’s main location near the Arlington Airport, Lockwood took a different tack and opted to “meet the kids where they’re at.””

Under Lockwood’s leadership, the Arlington Boys & Girls Club added new club sites at The Villas at Arlington, a 312-unit apartment complex in Smokey Point, and two Arlington schools, Presidents Elementary School and Kent Prairie Elementary School.

“We partnered with The Villa and now have Boys & Girls Club in their facility,” he said. “Getting into the schools has really helped and really grown our program.”

The Arlington Boys & Girls Club serves about 2,200 children a year. It offers childcare, before- and after school programs, sports and summer camps. Located near the Arlington Municipal Airport, it is one of the largest clubs in Snohomish County.

Lockwood’s “leadership and community contributions have been recognized as making a positive impact in Snohomish County, especially with the youth population,” a nominator wrote.

The club recently collaborated with the Arlington School District and Youth Dynamic, which runs the Mud Hut, a drop-in center for youth in Arlington.

Together, they launched Friday Fundays in downtown Arlington. When school district releases students early, the groups gather at Legion Park and offer a place “where kids can come and hang out,” Lockwood said.

“A lot of different organizations came together locally to provide a safe place for middle school students to be on Friday afternoons,” he said.

Lockwood’s family moved to Arlington when he was 6 years old. Growing up, he wanted to be a teacher and a football coach.

As the club director, his role allows him to do just that — be a teacher and a leader.

“A leader needs vision,” Lockwood said. “You’ve got to be able to answer their tough questions. They don’t want to follow a leader who doesn’t know where they’re going.”

Lockwood is a member of the Arlington Rotary Club. In June, he will begin serving as a Youth Services director and board member for the Arlington Education Foundation.

Janice Podsada: 425-339-3097; jpodsada@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @JanicePods.

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