Milestone year for Boys and Girls

Published 9:40 pm Monday, February 4, 2019

Tickets are still available for a March celebration of outstanding youth in the region and of 100 years of helping youth achieve their goals.

The Boys and Girls Clubs of Southeast Virginia will hold its 10th annual Youth of the Year Dinner on March 14 at Hilton Norfolk The Main, 100 E. Main St. The dinner will be from 6 to 9 p.m. and honor the region’s six Youth of the Year candidates, including Brielle Little, 15, of the Suffolk Unit.

Little and the other candidates will each give a speech about their time with the Boys and Girls Club. One will be selected as Youth of the Year for the region and advance to the state competition.

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But simply being nominated is an honor all its own.

“It speaks to their dedication to the Boys and Girls Club, their maturity level and that they are goal-oriented and planning for the future,” said Phil McPhail, one of the Suffolk Unit co-chairs.

This banquet also marks the 100th anniversary of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Southeast Virginia. Children over an entire century have learned how to be better students and people under the direction of club mentors.

Programs like SMART Girls and Passport to Manhood have shown have taught them good decision making, McPhail said, and boys and girls meet during the week to spend time with friends and enjoy a meal in a “safe and warm haven.”

“I think we’re blessed to have a very diverse group of men and women who are passionate about our young people here in the club,” he said.

The banquet is one of the region’s largest fundraisers for the services of these clubs, which allows for clubs like the Suffolk Unit to assist even more children, said Leroy Bennett, Suffolk Unit co-chair.

Donors are often invited to visit these clubs and see the impact for themselves.

“They can actually see and get involved with what the kids are doing, and they have some great stories to tell,” Bennett said, and tears of joy come with many of those stories. “It’s changed their whole lives.”

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