Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County broke ground on the new DeSoto Club on June 1. Campaign donors, volunteers, staff, state and local officials, as well as members of the design-build team were on hand to witness the ceremony, which took place where the heart of the new Club will be located, adjacent to the current site at the corner of 34th Street West and 53rd Avenue West in Bradenton. The campaign goal of $7.5 million includes building the new Club and providing an endowment to sustain operations. To date, more than $7.1 million has been raised, giving the organization the necessary funds to begin construction of the 37,477 square foot facility.
“This is an exciting day, both as a former Club kid and the Chairman of the Invest in Kids Campaign,” said local attorney Caleb Grimes. “There is a real sense of pride knowing that everyone who passes by and every member who attends the current Club will see the progress of the new facility. It’s a symbol of the commitment that our community and Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County has to our youth.”
Construction will begin in two weeks, with completion slated for summer 2019, according to Dawn Stanhope, President & CEO of the organization. Plans include a teen center with a separate entrance, a sports/flex field, a commercial kitchen and other dedicated spaces that focus on academics, character & citizenship, and healthy lifestyles programming.
“Our members have been so excited,” said Stanhope, “but when they see the construction actually taking place and the daily progress, their anticipation level is going to sky rocket. They are finally getting the Club they deserve thanks to the generosity of so many.”
The new Club will have the capacity to serve 600 kids, more than double the amount served today. The 50 year old facility will continue to operate until the new Club is ready.
For more information about the Invest in Kids Campaign click here.

Selected among three outstanding youth, Kalista Khadaran has been named the Youth of the Year by Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County. The Youth of the Year title is a prestigious honor bestowed upon an exemplary young person in recognition of leadership, service, academic excellence and dedication to live a healthy lifestyle. Now in its 71st year, the Youth of the Year program honors our nation’s most awe-inspiring young people on their path to great futures and encourages all kids to lead, succeed and inspire. Kalista was awarded a $3,000 scholarship and will go on to vie for the Florida Youth of the Year title and a $5,000 college scholarship from Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

“Kalista has been an inspiring leader in the Clubs for many years,” said Dawn Stanhope, President and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County. “We are proud to have her represent us in our community and beyond.”

Kalista, a junior at Southeast High School, is in the International Baccalaureate (IB) program, which offers a rigorous course schedule and prepares students for college. Her future plans include going to college for journalism and mass communications and pursuing a career as a broadcast analyst or news anchor. Kalista, a Club member at the Boys & Girls Club at Southeast High School, started her Club journey eight years ago at the Palmetto Boys & Girls Club. She credits the Clubs for her commitment to academics, supporting and encouraging her through difficult times and being a place of refuge where she could be a kid.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County’s Youth of the Year program is made possible by a grant received from SunCoast Credit Union. In addition, the Youth of the Year Celebration Dinner and the scholarships awarded to Kalista and the two runner-ups ($1,500 each) were supported by sponsorships from NDC Construction Company, Regions Bank, Veteran Air, The Rehfeldt Group, Cavanaugh & Company, LLP and CenterState Bank. Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s National Youth of the Year recognition program is presented by Disney, who has supported the youth advocacy organization for more than 50 years, empowering young people to reach their full potential and providing youth with access to the tools they need to build the great futures they imagine. Toyota, the Signature Sponsor of Youth of the Year, is dedicated to inspiring the next generations of engineers, thinkers and leaders who will help drive the American economy.

If Kalista wins at the state competition, she will compete for the title of Southeast Region Youth of the Year and an additional $10,000 college scholarship, renewable for four years up to $40,000. Five regional winners will advance to Washington, D.C. in September 2018, to compete for the title of Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s National Youth of the Year. The National Youth of the Year will receive an additional scholarship of $25,000, renewable each year up to $100,000 and will have the opportunity to meet with the President of the United States in the White House.

With a desire to make a positive impact on the health and well-being of children and teens, a longtime supporter of Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County recently gave a $500,000 gift to Invest In Kids, the organization’s capital campaign to build a new DeSoto Boys & Girls Club. The donor, who asked to remain anonymous, made the gift in support of the new Club’s commercial kitchen/culinary arts area, which will be a vital component of the Club’s Healthy Lifestyles programming.

The new Club’s commercial kitchen will better accommodate the cooking and nutritional programs that are offered. The current Club’s kitchen has limited space, which forces larger groups to use a multi-purpose room and tabletop cooking equipment. The new Club’s state-of-the-art culinary kitchen will provide future chefs of all ages with hands-on experience and lessons in nutrition, healthy eating, kitchen safety and proper food preparation. The new kitchen and its future programs will also serve as a way for members to explore career paths in the culinary arts. Plans include visits by local chefs who will share their expertise.

“The new Club’s increased member capacity from 240 to 600 kids daily, combined with the commercial kitchen and garden, will allow us to provide more of our community’s youth with valuable garden-to-table life skills that encourage healthy living,” said Dawn Stanhope, President and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County. “This is just one example of how the thoughtful generosity of our campaign donors will transform more young lives.”

To date, the Invest In Kids capital campaign has raised $5.7 million for the new Club (total campaign goal is $7.5 million). Recent gifts to the campaign have helped the organization reach the funding needed in order to begin construction in the spring of 2018. The new Club will replace the existing DeSoto Club, located at 5231 34th Street West in Bradenton. The current DeSoto Club, built five decades ago, will continue to operate while the new Club is being built on the east end of the property, located at the intersection of 53rd Avenue West and 30th Street West.

More information about the campaign and ways to give, contact Francine Diemer, Chief Development Officer for Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County at 941-761-2582 or via email to francine.diemer@bgcmanatee.org.

The William G. and Maria Selby Foundation awarded Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County a $250,000 grant for Invest In Kids, the capital campaign to build a new DeSoto Boys & Girls Club. The gift not only helped push the amount raised to date to over $5 million (total campaign goal is $7.5 million), but it will also allow construction to begin in the spring of 2018.

“We’re excited to be contributing to such a vital project for the children and families in the community,” said Carol Butera, Executive Director of the William G. and Maria Selby Foundation. “With this gift, the Foundation will be able to help Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County serve almost triple the number of youth at this location.”

“We admire the Selby Foundation’s longstanding commitment to helping young people,” said Caleb Grimes, Chairman of the Invest In Kids campaign. “Their commitment parallels the Boys & Girls Clubs’ mission to enable all young people to reach their full potential. It’s very symbolic that their generous contribution enables us to begin building the new Club, which will provide hope and opportunity for our youth for generations.”

The Foundation’s investment includes the naming rights to the Multipurpose/Public Reception Room, which will be available for public use when the Club is not in session. The state-of-the-art Club will replace the existing DeSoto Club, located at 5231 34th Street West in Bradenton. The current Club, which has served the community for five decades, will continue to operate while the new Club is being built on the east end of the property, located at the intersection of 53rd Avenue West and 30th Street West.

“We are so pleased with this gift from the Selby Foundation and the timing couldn’t be any better,” said Dawn Stanhope, President & CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County. “With end of the year giving at its peak now, we are hoping to inspire more donors. Given the current uncertainty regarding new tax legislation, there isn’t a better time to give appreciated stock or funds from an IRA rollover.”

 

More information about the campaign and ways to give, contact Francine Diemer, Chief Development Officer for Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County at 941-761-2582 or via email to francine.diemer@bgcmanatee.org.

 

Last week, we held our annual meeting with staff and board members. We celebrated accomplishments, thanked outgoing board members, welcomed incoming board members, witnessed the swearing in of our corporate board officers and were inspired by mission moments shared by a few of our Club Directors. During the swearing in ceremony, Ken Thomas raised his right hand to, once again, accept the role of Corporate Board Chair in 2018.

We recalled when Ken shared his experience after attending Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s National conference in the spring. In the 2017 summer edition of our newsletter he wrote:

In May, I had the wonderful experience of attending the 2017 Boys & Girls Clubs of America National Conference in Dallas, along with my wife, Sharon. It was overwhelming to see so many BGCA volunteers, professionals and kids from all over the country. We were all there to learn, celebrate achievements and, yes, have some fun. If you ever get a chance to attend one of the national or regional conferences, be prepared to be inspired!

One of the highlights was the induction of alumni into the BGCA Alumni Hall of Fame. It was inspiring to hear how the Clubs transformed the lives of scientists, doctors, professional athletes and actors. They all had amazing stories of overcoming adversity to achieve amazing things in their professional and personal lives. Triple H, a professional wrestler, even theorized that because of the transformation through involvement in the Clubs, BGCA alumni will one day, not just solve problems with education or poverty, but will actually save the world from impending doom from meteors that are targeting Earth!

I learned how other local Boys & Girls Clubs’ boards operate, what are considered to be best practices and where to get resources for board members. I also learned about the power of a story and heard many moving stories. The Regional and National Youth of the Year representatives were impressive and motivating as they shared their stories. Overall, it reinforced that what we do matters and lives can be transformed in the process.
It was an amazing experience!

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