BB&T volunteers revamp space for club

Published 8:09 pm Saturday, May 19, 2018

About 17 employees of Suffolk BB&T branches volunteered their Saturday to renovate the Boys and Girls Club game room at John F. Kennedy Middle School as part of the company’s 10th annual Lighthouse Project.

BB&T Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Kelly King started the project in 2009 to address critical needs in communities across the country by supporting local nonprofits. Associates have contributed more than 500,000 volunteer hours and helped more than 15 million people in the process, according to bbt.com.

“An investment in our community is one of the best investments we will ever make,” according to a statement by King. “Whether it’s a financial contribution, an investment of our time or both, we can truly make a difference.”

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Reggie Carter, service director for the Suffolk Unit of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Southeastern Virginia, and Unit Director LaMarr Coles III had been planning the renovation with BB&T since February. The Club has operated out of JFK Middle for more than 15 years and averages about 130 kids for its after-school activities daily, Coles said.

The games room is the club’s designated space for the kids to relax and play, but the room was in need of an overhaul. So, they submitted their application and crossed their fingers.

“We’re just honored that they chose us,” Coles said.

Volunteers put a fresh coat of paint on the walls and new curtains on the windows. They scrubbed the fluorescent light covers clean and brought in floor lamps and Christmas lights. They built tables and chairs to go with colorful bean bag chairs and a soft couch.

The kids will enjoy a popcorn machine, a karaoke machine, air hockey, board games and plenty more. A new TV stand and shelves will better organize everything in the busy space.

“We tried to accommodate them as best we could,” said Summer Magee, market leader at the North Main Street BB&T branch.

Magee explained that the Lighthouse Project gives associates opportunities to roll up their sleeves and put in some serious “sweat equity” alongside their coworkers.

“We vibe very well, and we very much enjoy doing this,” she said.

BB&T employee Ashlee Moffett echoed that sentiment as she built a table with Shelby Felts.

“It’s a good team experience,” Moffett said.

Coles said he hadn’t seen the games room look that good for two or three years. The Club kids could have pride in calling this room their own.

“I cannot wait to see the look on their faces when they see it on Monday,” he said.