Boys and Girls Club marks 10th year

The Boys and Girls Club of the Big Bend celebrated 10 years of helping the local area with a dinner banquet at the Armory, Oct. 17.

Established in September 1992, the Boys and Girls Club of the Big Bend helps Tallahassee youth find alternate options for their time.

Its mission is to inspire and enable young people, specifically those of disadvantaged backgrounds, to reach their full potential in life.

“It has given kids who otherwise would not have an opportunity to better their lives,” said Bret Lesby, the finance director of the Boys and Girls Club of the Big Bend.

“Of the 1,000 members ages 6-17 a high percent will become a valid, active and productive community members,” he said.

Diane Jefferson, the director of resource development said she has seen the Club’s positive influence on at-risk youth first-hand.

“It’s a wonderful alternate and can transform the lives of young people,” she said.

“So many community leaders, entertainers and government officials got their foundation from the Boys and Girls Club and that is reason why we are celebrating.”

The purpose of celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Boys and Girls Club is to accomplish three main goals: to raise money for the center, to provide recognition for outstanding kids and to promote the image and mission of the center.

The dinner banquet had various sponsorship levels, including tables costing from $500-$1000.

Carmen Cummings, a representative of City Commissioner Alan Boyd’s office and board member of the Boys and Girls Club, was event’s mistress of ceremonies.

The event began with a prayer from pastor Howard McMillian and a performance of the national anthem, from the recipients of the Strubbs music scholarship.

Also FAMU associate professor, Frances Stallworth played and performed a song.

There were awards and recognition given to several outstanding children and communities supporters.

University President Fred Gainous and Smokey Bones Barbeque were among the recipients of the Helping Hand award.

The event ended with a standing ovation for Gainous, who was “delighted” to be the keynote speaker of the event because.

“The Boys and Girls Club will always stay true to its mission, our children, yours and mine, will live a prosperous life,” he said.

Gainous said the club deserves special recognition for making Tallahassee an “all-American city,” one that gives hope to those who need it.

A lot of preparation went into the event. But the most hectic part was serving food for about 400 people seated at 50 tables, said Sharia Geiger, 20, a third-year sociology student from Atlanta.

The work was well worth the result, she said.

“The Boys and Girls Club influences a child everyday, so for a couple of hours it only seemed right to help them in return.”