Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County hosted their final Opening Doors to Great Futures Dinner of the season on Wednesday, May 16, at the Lee Wetherington Boys & Girls Club, located at 3100 Fruitville Road in Sarasota. The organization welcomed 60 guests including Representative Margaret Good, members of the Sarasota Yacht Club (SYC), wealth management professionals from U.S. Trust Bank of America and Mary Boyce-Johnson, National Director of Metro Services for Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
The evening began with a full Club tour and guests saw the organization’s Educational, Art, Technology, Workforce Development and Culinary Arts programs in action.
After the tour, guests sat down in the Club’s cafeteria and enjoyed a three-course meal prepared by a team from Capital Grille, including Managing Partner Tim Fanning, and our Culinary Arts Program participants. The meal featured roasted chicken with green beans and scalloped potatoes and cheesecake with strawberries for dessert.
Bill Sadlo, President/CEO at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County, kicked off the program with two major announcements.
SYC members presented a $15,322 check from their inaugural SYC Cares Caring & Sharing event to the organization in support of the Technology Station and Wall Mural in the new, state-of-the-art space for teens, called The Club, which is located inside of the Lee Weatherington Boys & Girls Club.
“SYC is helping our agency provide greater opportunities for teen Club members to achieve their full potential,” said Sadlo. “Because of their generous support, our teens have access to technology and other critical resources that will help them plan for success after high school graduation.
Next, wealth management professionals from U.S. Trust Bank of America presented the agency with a $10,000 grant from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation to support workforce development training programs at the Tom & Debbie Shapiro Career Resource Center for teen Club members, ultimately preparing them for and encouraging them to secure competitive community employment in Sarasota County or continue their academic career at the collegiate level after high school graduation.
“The Bank of America Charitable Foundation has been a long-standing partner of our organization for nearly a decade,” said Sadlo. “Their continued support will enhance our workforce development programs for teens from hands-on vocational training with skilled professionals to soft-skill coaching and career preparation courses.”
The evening continued with current Florida Youth of the Year Rickey Tedesco from the Robert and Joan Lee Boys & Girls Club in Venice.
Rickey said, “I’m so excited to represent the state of Florida as Youth of the Year in the Southeast Regional Youth of the Year Celebration in Atlanta next month. Since 2007, my Boys & Girls Club has presented me with countless opportunities that have helped me realize my true potential. They’ve helped me find my voice, and have encouraged me to use my passion for music to inspire positive change in our community. And support from caring people like you all here tonight make it all possible for me and thousands of other Club members.”
Guests also heard from Al-Muta Hawks, former Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County Youth of the Year and Club alumnus, who just recently finished his freshman year at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh as a Robert and Patricia Gussin Endowed Scholar.
Al-Muta said, “College was never on my radar until my Boys & Girls Club showed me that it could be a reality for me. I’m thriving at Duquesne University with good grades and campus involvement. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for my Boys & Girls Club family.”
While the organization will hit pause on hosting monthly Opening Doors to Great Futures Dinners until later the fall, guests are invited to tour Club locations and dine with Club members during the summer months at Brown Bag Lunches. The first Brown Bag Lunch will take place on June 21 from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. at the Gene Matthews Boys & Girls Club, located at 6851 S. Biscayne Boulevard in North Port. Another Brown Bag Lunch is scheduled for July 19 from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. at the Lee Wetherington Boys & Girls Club at 3100 Fruitville Road in Sarasota. If you are interested in attending one of the Brown Bag Lunches, please call 941-366-3911 or email Tanya Orr, Community Engagement Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP.