There was a new face in Club 56 when school kicked back into session this fall…Matt Ippolito, the new Club 56 Coordinator!
Matt arrived in Club 56 by way of BVCHS (Matt is the Wrestling Coach for junior high and high school). Last spring, Matt approached Tim Giannosa, Pastor of Family Ministries, to inquire if there was an area of ministry where he might serve. And there was! Tim invited Matt to visit Club 56, our ministry for 5th-6th Grade students. He challenged Matt every week with more responsibility to lead and opportunities to share his testimony, teach and interact with students. Matt found that he loved working with 5th and 6th graders, looking forward to his time with them each week.
With the new school year approaching, Tim invited Matt to be the Leader for Club 56, and Matt accepted! “I LOVE working with kids,” Matt says. “In any job I do, I try to find an opportunity to share my faith. Now, I actually have a job where it is a REQUIREMENT! How cool is that? I just want to be someone who can help teach and guide them, not only on a good path, but the RIGHT path, and that is a path that ALWAYS points to Christ. I love seeing these kids grow, and my wife and I are blessed to be a part of this amazing Big Valley Grace family.”
After graduation from Downey High School, Matt attended the US Coast Guard Academy and Modesto Junior College before enrolling in California Baptist University in Riverside on a wrestling scholarship. Matt returned home to Modesto in 2014, and a position opened for a wrestling coach at BVCHS—a natural fit for Matt’s years of experience in wrestling.
Matt and his wife Stephanie had a long-distance engagement while Stephanie completed her degree at CBU and Matt served as the Wrestling Coach and in the Facilities department at BVCHS. They were married in July 2015. Stephanie now works for the Central Valley Autism Project where she provides behavioral therapy for children with autism.
It has been a whirlwind year for Matt and Stephanie. But on Wednesday nights and during Weekend Gatherings, you will find them hanging out in Club 56–having fun, sharing life and encouraging 5th and 6th grade students to walk closely with Jesus.
Club 56 meets in E207/209 on Wednesdays at 6:30pm, Saturdays at 6pm, and Sundays at 9 & 11am.
Contact Matt at [email protected] to find out more about Club 56.