At the Montgomery County Boys and Girls Club in the converted halls of a Rockville elementary school, a wall-size mosaic of colorful snapshots is tribute to a lot of little success stories -- and one enduring victory.

Pictured in this children's photo gallery is a cross-section of smiling young faces of children who over the years have found the neighborhood club a haven from the lure of trouble on the streets. Swimming, camping or cascading down a roller coaster at Hershey Park, the youngsters in these pictures are to club director William Green all small symbols of the opportunity the Boys and Girls Club generates, for almost 1,000 children a year, 11 years running.

For Green, the club's founder, the steady stream of neighborhood youngsters, along with a budget that has grown from $250 to $181,000 today, proves that the club is here to stay.

"It's been a long time coming," said Green, recently given the Nancy Dworkin Award for Outstanding Service to Youth by Montgomery County.

A police officer in Montgomery for 19 years, Green remembered when in 1976 the club began in a rented room in an old Kensington middle school, where he taught boxing techniques to some area boys. Now, spread out in a converted elementary school on Grandin Avenue in Rockville, the club offers a room with video games, a pool and Ping-Pong table, a television lounge, a weight room for youngsters over 16, and various trips for swimming, camping or to an amusement park.

Six days a week, it serves boys and girls from throughout the Rockville area.

Beth McIntyre, 23, one of several volunteers who work part time at the club, said Green has captured the love of the young people.

"He's pretty much a role model to many of the kids," she said. "It's obvious. I see a lot of the kids looking up to him."

John Wilson, 10, said he loves being at the club. "Before, I'd be running around getting in all kinds of trouble and fights," John said.

For Green, 43, it is exactly that diversion that he is seeking. "I see kids coming in here with these big chips on their shoulder," he explained. "They're tough guys. And before the week's up, they're smiling and laughing and clowning around and having a good time instead of trying to prove to somebody who they are, or how 'bad' they are."

"When they're in here," he said, "they can let their guard down and enjoy life. It's a good atmosphere."

Working the streets in the early 1970s as a patrol officer, Green said, he learned day after day that kids with nowhere to go usually find trouble. Someone who's "always had an interest in helping kids," Green said he couldn't turn his back on what he simply saw as neglected potential.

"I used to go over to Lincoln Park, long considered a 'bad' neigh-" . . . that's what we are here: a big family. Some of us have problems and some don't, but the ones who don't are willing and able to help the others."

-- William Green

borhood in Rockville, and guys on the force would say, 'Oh, don't go in there by yourself, it's dangerous.' " Green said, mimicking their caution. "That sort of aroused my curiosity; I wanted to see what it was like.

"All I found," he continued, "was a neighborhood of families that had been fairly secluded because of this label. There were good people in that community. I got out of my car to meet them and eventually established a good working relationship."

Based on his experiences in Lincoln Park, Green wanted to give area youths a place to go, away from the streets. With some help from the county, a small grant and rights to a gym at a Kensington middle school, Green and a police force colleague began a boxing and athletic program. But when his partner had to move out of town after about a year, Green faced two options: accepting full responsibility with its 20-hour-a-week commitment, or watching the gains fade away.

Green, who has two children of his own, chose to pursue the commitment. "Kids just need a place to go," he said. "Really, I'm just giving them a little well-needed attention."

The club moved several times before officially joining the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Washington and settling down in Rockville in 1983.

Green, who now works in the police department's community relations office, has arranged with his superiors to spend three days of his work week managing the club and two days on police business, speaking to students on subjects such as drug or alcohol abuse and search and seizure.

But three days a week barely leaves time to perform administrative tasks, Green said, so he spends about 35 unpaid hours a week at the club. "I can't enjoy the kids if I'm stuck in the office."

Green comes into the club every day but Sunday, when it is closed. The club has a nominal $15 annual fee, but Green said he doesn't push it because many of the youths cannot afford it. He estimated that 90 percent of the kids come free.

"We don't get rich off the kids," Green said. "Mostly, we rely on private donations."

The children "come in here and they have a good time," Green said. "And plus, they don't hesitate to give of themselves. All we have to do is say, 'Hey, John or hey, Steve, how 'bout helping us,' and they'll pick up a broom and help us clean up -- and feel good about it, because they feel like part of a family.

"And that's what we are here: a big family. Some of us have problems and some don't, but the ones who don't are willing and able to help the others."

"I think we make a pretty good team," he added. "We're able to help a . . . lot of kids -- kids who normally would not have any of this. It's nice to be able to offer an open door."

Cindy Miller, 29, whose son and daughter attend the club regularly, said people at the club take special time to look after children there. "Even on my days off, {my children} want to go there, they love it so much," she said. "Even in my time off, I can't take the time to do at home all the activities they have."

At the photo collection outside Green's office, John Wilson points out all the places he fits into the family. "I'm there, and there, and there and there," he said proudly, touching various scenes of camping, basketball and swimming.

Inside his office, Green talked about his future. He'll retire from the police force in February, and continue his position as club director.

"My goal is to keep it going till it can stand by itself and we're pretty close now," he said. "It's a pretty good goal in life, I think, to know you were the spark that kindled it, built it into something that works."