Former FGCU basketball star comes home to lead local Boys & Girls Club
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Keri Jewett-Giles is most known around the Fort Myers area for her prolific basketball skills.
The point guard lit it up at Dunbar High School before going on to play at Florida Gulf Coast University. There, she was named the ASUN Player of the Year and eventually took her talents overseas to play professionally.
However, now Jewett-Giles is back home due to a simple web search.
“I was looking for a job when I was overseas in Slovakia,” Jewett-Giles said. “I ran across on Indeed that the Boys and Girls Club was hiring.”
Jewett-Giles previously worked at the local Boys and Girls Club. She also studied child and youth studies in school with a bachelor’s degree in educational leadership. She said mentoring kids is her passion. So, when the job was available, she had to go for it.
“It was difficult because as a player, I’ve been playing all my life, I knew I was going to miss it,” she said. “Me being with kids brings me a lot of joy just as much as basketball.”
Jewett-Giles packed up and came back home to help the youth of Fort Myers achieve their dreams.
“Growing up from where I was from, if you didn’t have anything to do, you found trouble,” she said. “This could be a place to have a new outlook, to have a new perspective, to come and want to be more.”
Jewett-Giles’s passion to help the younger generation was developed years ago. Her mother ran her own summer camp. Growing up with other kids coming and going from her house made Keri understand the impact a mentor can have.
“I kind of get that from her,” she said. “Being around kids, wanting to help the kids, loving kids, always having them at her house.”
Now, Jewett-Giles is using that passion to mentor kids in her community.
“They respect her and they listen to her,” Taylor Neukam, a leader at the Boys and Girls Club, said. “But they also joke around with her, play with her and like they love her.”
Basketball player and youth mentor don’t seem like they overlap, but Jewett-Giles thinks otherwise. She has taken the lessons she learned on the court and translated them to the Boys and Girls Club.
“The leadership skills of being a point guard definitely translate over,” Neukam said. Obviously whenever she’s playing with the kids you can really tell then.”
Jewett-Giles grew up with Southwest Florida cheering her on when she took the court. Fans would tune in or show up to watch her play. Now, she still has fans, they are just a little younger.
“They want to come here just because Ms. Keri is here,” Jewett-Giles said.