Four-time Olympian Jackie Joyner-Kersee made an easy connection with residents of nationally renowned Boys Town.
She spent a half-hour Tuesday telling stories to middle-school students about growing up poor in East St. Louis, how she drew on the support of coaches, family and friends to achieve success and how she is determined to give back.
She toured the Boys Town campus and learned about what goes on at the institution founded in 1917 by Father Flanagan and made famous in the 1938 movie starring Spencer Tracey and Mickey Rooney.
Since retiring after her fourth, and final, Olympics in 1996, Joyner-Kersee has worked in youth mentoring. The Jackie Joyner-Kersee Center in East St. Louis was built through her foundation in 2000 and includes basketball courts, athletic fields, computers and community rooms.