Celebrating 25 Years Of Service To Our Big Bend Kids
Message from the CEO - Lee Wagner
After 28 months at the helm of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Big Bend, I am encouraged and very optimistic that the future of our great organization is brighter than ever before, and we have our loyal supporters to thank!
Although we have faced some financial challenges in recent years, I am pleased to report that we have made tremendous progress in resolving these issues. In fact, we closed out our 2014/2015 Fiscal Year in the black and have continued to make strides in 2015/2016. Yes, that is definitely something to celebrate!
As the New Year quickly approaches, we look forward to officially launching our 25th Anniversary celebration in January. Just imagine, 25 years of service to thousands of youth throughout the Big Bend. What a tremendous milestone! Today, many of our alumni Club members are making their influence felt as outstanding leaders in our communities, our state and our nation.
I consider it a blessing and an honor to be in the position to lead this organization into year 25 and beyond. Yes, 2016 has been a great year…but 2017 will be even greater!
Meet Destinee Jones, our 2015 Youth of the Year!
Since 1947, Youth of the Year has been Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s premier youth recognition program, celebrating the extraordinary achievements of Club members.
Our local Youth of the Year, Destinee Jones, is a Senior at Lincoln High School. She is a very responsible, personable and self-motivated individual who fully understands the importance of leadership and post-secondary education. She strives to achieve greatness as it relates to academics and leadership.
It is Destinee’s goal to attend college after she graduates from high school. The University of South Florida is currently at the top of her list of desired schools. She wants to major in Business Interventions and Communications.
She is a good role model for her peers, family members and members of the Boys & Girls Club by making positive life choices, working hard to accomplish her goals, and volunteering at the Club as a peer mentor. Destinee has been a member of the Miccosukee Club for 12 years.
Each year, one exceptional Club member is selected to be the National Youth of the Year. The winner serves as both an exemplary ambassador for Boys & Girls Club youth and as a strong voice for all of our nation’s young people.
The journey to being named National Youth of the Year begins locally and progresses to the state, regional and national levels. To achieve the title of Youth of the Year on any level, Club members must embody the values of leadership and service; academic excellence; and healthy lifestyles. They should exemplify the critical impact that Boys & Girls Clubs have on the lives of young people. Congratulations to Destinee for a job well done as our local Youth of the Year!
Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s President & CEO
along with his leadership team roll up sleeves in Tallahassee to renovate the Carrie Wilson – Miccosukee Club
The Carrie Wilson Boys & Girls Club in Miccosukee got some functional and fun renovations back in January over the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day weekend.
Boys & Girls Club staff, along with the organization’s national team of senior leaders and Club visitors spent the weekend painting the facility, repairing cabinets, assembling game equipment to include a ping pong table and a foosball table. A brand new regulation size pool table was also purchased and installed as part of the Day of Service weekend.
“I have been attending since I was 5 years old,” Ciara Campbell, now 11, said. “I’m thankful for the new game room and the paint on the walls. Thank you for thinking about the Carrie Wilson Boys & Girls Club.”
Boys & Girls Clubs of America President & CEO Jim Clark was on hand to commemorate the facility’s improvements. “Today was the culmination of a day and a half worth of work to transform the building and create a better experience for kids,” Clark said.
The project is part of an annual Boys & Girls Club initiative on MLK Day. The Carrie Wilson Club was chosen out of 4,200 locations across the country to receive new appliances and equipment.
“This is obviously a much needed facility and a much needed Club in the community so kids have a safe place to come after school and during the summer,” Clark said, “and also an opportunity to grow and develop during their time here.”
Thank You Killearn Kiwanis Club
The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Big Bend is also very appreciative to the Killearn Kiwanis Club for their ongoing support of the Miccosukee Club. The Killearn Kiwanis Club and its wonderful members continue to donate their time and talents at the Miccosukee Club on a regular basis, in addition to assisting the Miccosukee Club financially.
The after-school hours hold the greatest promise – and peril – for youth throughout our nation and Tallahassee and our surrounding communities are no exception. Each afternoon the ringing of the school bell signals not just the end of the school day, but the beginning of a time when a large number of children are left alone or unsupervised.
For many youth, the hours immediately following the school day are their most dangerous because it is a time when kids are most likely to commit or be the victim of crime. It is also during these hours that kids are most likely to start experimenting with drugs and alcohol and engage in sexual activity. Many other children will simply waste the afternoon hours away on television, video games and other forms of inactivity.
Working parents/guardians, for a variety of reasons, are often unable to arrange or afford a better alternative.
Studies have shown that children that are involved in positive and stimulating activities, especially activities that reinforce the skills and knowledge learned in school, tend to be better students and have greater academic success.
Since opening our doors in 1992, the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Big Bend have provided quality after-school and summer programs that have served as a great alternative to the lures of the streets and the negative effects of inactivity.
Dixon Family Scholarships
The Dixon Family Scholarship was created by Kim and Sammie Dixon in memory of Dr. Sammie and Latrelle Dixon, Sr.
This annual scholarship is earmarked for a student who is the first to enter college in their family and a member of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Big Bend. Back in August, four students meeting this criteria were awarded with full tuition for both the Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 semesters at Tallahassee Community College. Funds were also provided to help defray the cost of books.
Kim and Sammie Dixon are longtime supporters of both the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Big Bend and Tallahassee Community College.
Through their generosity, this new partnership will ensure that financial barriers are diminished, providing access and opportunity to students to attend college.
The following individuals were selected through an application and interview process as the very first Dixon Scholarship recipients:
Diamond Robinson – Rickards High School
Alexis St. Hilaire – Rickards High School
Garrett Munroe – Rickards High School
Tyneka Carter – Carter Parramore Academy
The major social issues that plague our community, such as crime, poverty and poor health are receiving much needed attention and are being addressed in Tallahassee through the use of a comprehensive and targeted approach. Through the leadership of Mayor Andrew Gillum, the City of Tallahassee has taken the initiative to bring partners from all sectors of our community together to identify the most problematic areas of the City and develop a long-term plan for making a significant impact on the identified problems within the problem areas.
As part of this initiative, the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Big Bend has partnered with the Sunrise Place Apartment community to provide services to the youth who reside in the community. The initial intent was to provide services for the 2016 Summer Program only. However, recognizing the need for continued services, the program was extended to include an after-school component. Additional grant funding has been awarded to allow the program to continue year-round in 2017.
Thank You Commissioner Maddox
While we greatly appreciate ALL of our local elected officials in both Leon and Gadsden Counties, a special thank you goes out to Leon County Commissioner Nick Maddox. Commissioner Maddox served as the speaker for our 2016 Steak & Burger Fundraising Dinner last August. Commissioner Maddox shared his personal and very touching story of the challenges and obstacles that he faced as a child and how he overcame those challenges to eventually become the leader that he is today. His message was very inspirational for everyone in the audience, especially our Club kids!
As a result of the partnership between Comcast NBCUniversal and Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Big Bend is now in the process of establishing two new computer labs.
The partnership created the new My.Future technology initiative which is designed to teach Club members about the digital world and ignite their passion for technology. A special thank you goes out to Stefanie Bowden with Comcast here in Tallahassee for her assistance with securing the grant funding. The grant funds will be used to establish new computer labs at our Nims Middle School and Miccosukee Club Sites.
Local Legislative Officials Recognized
We also greatly appreciate ALL of our local Legislative Officials. Senator Bill Montford is pictured above with some of our Club members and our CEO, Lee Wagner, after being presented with the Legislative Champion Award. Also recognized were:
Representative Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda
Representative Alan Williams
Representative Halsey Beshears
Stick Patrol - Drum Line Gets new Uniforms and Instruments
The Stick Patrol Drum Line program enhances the creative and productive talents of youth and seeks ways to contribute to the quality of life and development of its members. This program aims to inspire the musical desires of youth and helps them hone their abilities to develop and maintain high standards and a respect for the performing arts.
Through a generous grant from the Charles A. Frueauff Foundation, the group now has new uniforms and instruments. The Stick Patrol has been in existence since 2008 and travels throughout the Big Bend community to perform for a variety of audiences and events. We are very appreciative of the Charles A. Frueauff Foundation for their charitable and continued support of our organization.