Boys & Girls Club thanks supporters

Published 8:29 pm Wednesday, October 30, 2013

To the editor:

Five years ago, I was asked to join the board of the Suffolk unit of the Boys & Girls Club of Southeast Virginia. Like many of you, I was not even aware of the existence of the club in Suffolk. Since that time, I have become involved with one of the most inspiring and effective programs offered for our school-aged children.

Leroy Bennett and I currently serve as co-chairs of the Suffolk Unit Board. We follow the distinguished service of Sonny Stallings Jr. and Mike Debranski. We work closely with Reggie Carter, executive director of the Suffolk club, and we are in awe of his devotion and wonderful work with the students who attend our program every day.

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The club is located at JFK Middle School, and our students attend daily between the hours of 3 and 7:30 p.m. The mission of our group is “to enable all young people, especially those who need us the most, to realize their full potential as productive, caring and responsible citizens.”

The club makes a difference in the lives of our youth. Its impact is far-reaching as they learn how to be and do their best in the world. Many of the students “pay it forward,” as they serve as examples and mentors to other young people.

There are lots of stories about how the Boys & Girls Club has kept Suffolk youth off the streets and out of trouble. The club has provided a safe haven, tutoring, mentoring and character development skills for youth who might otherwise not have these opportunities.

We are proud that two of our youth, Miracle Worrell and Lamar Coles, have garnered the Youth of the Year Award for the BGCSEVA region. Both will graduate in the spring, Miracle from Howard University and Lamar from ODU.

In order to survive, the Boys & Girls Club depends heavily on private funding. We recently held our fourth annual Oyster Roast/BBQ event, our primary fundraiser, at Constant’s Wharf Park. Thanks to the support of many people in our community, we raised more than $18,000 to help support our Suffolk club.

On behalf of the Suffolk Unit Board, and the Boys & Girls Club of SEVA, we thank each and every one who helped, attended or otherwise supported our efforts to keep the doors open for our club.

We would especially like to thank the following sponsors who made such generous donations to our cause: Gold level — Ron Williams United Way Golf Tournament, Cabell Birdsong, Sonny Stallings Jr. and his law firm; Silver level — Kraft Foods, Farmers Bank, Birdsong Peanuts, Unilever/Lipton Tea; Bronze level — Parr Funeral Home, Mac and Sandra Birdsong, Mr. and Mrs. Mark Popik; Copper level — Mr. and Mrs. John C. Harrell/Suffolk Iron Works, Blake Baker/R.W.Baker & Co., Amadas Industries, James M. Blair, Capt. Jeffrey Messinger, Cross Realty, Anne and Dave Zobel, Mrs. Bob Flintoff, Jani-King, Everett and Miriam Birdsong, Nansemond Insurance Agency, Butler Paper & Recycling, Mr. and Mrs. Phil McPhail, Dr. and Mrs. Robert R. Harrell, Ryan Construction, Duke Automotive, Crocker Funeral Home, Mike Duman Auto Sales, and Ferguson, Rawls and Raines, P.C.

In addition we would like to thank those individuals and organizations who provided in-kind services: Boo McGhee (Amici’s, Baron’s), Suffolk News-Herald, Hilton Garden Inn, the city of Suffolk, Island Boy Band, C3Vino, and Charles Parr.

Phil McPhail

Leroy Bennett

Co-chairs, Suffolk Unit