BY MWEZI DAKE firstname.lastname@example.org
The Roy McBean Boys & Girls Club on Saturday, April 9, 2016 the community gathered to celebrate Youth of the Year and Annual Fund Raiser to support after-school and summer programs. The hardworking, dedicated staff at the Club and the proud youth who attend the Club greeted guests and ushered into the gym that had been transformed into a magical, beautiful dinner club. Entertainment was provided by the Roy McBean Boys & Girls Club Choir led by Marc Dorch. The pledge was led by Alexandria Young. The Live Auction was successful and items provided by local businesses as well as autographed footballs from former NFL greats, Jim Brown, Sam Shields, Mike Alstott, Jim McElwain (College Football) and Marcin Gortat signed Washington Wizards Jersey. Auctioneers, Michael Suarez, Club Advisory Board member and youth Club member Clarence Battle led the bidding with humor and engaging the audience bringing some items auctioned to a fever pitch and applause. Guest Chief Kirt Staletovich and the McBean Culinary Café and the Harvest Tabernacle provided and served the meal.
Kayla McGann, Youth of the Year spoke relaying how the Roy McBean Boys & Girls Club was the major reason for her success and positive outlook in life. Kayla spoke of her experiences in third grade being bullied by classmates which caused her to be shy. Kayla said coming to the Boys & Girls Club changed her life, encouraged her, the staff told her she was beautiful, smart and capable to do anything. Kayla is part of the Club’s Key Club, an honor roll student with a GPA of 4.3. Kayla said, “I’ve made an abundance of friends at the Club. My grades have always been good because the staff helps me, encourages me.”
The Unsung Hero Award was presented to Eric Bolden, local law enforcement officer. Bolden was praised for the many hours of dedicated service to the community. Bolden spoke and said, “I actually grew up three blocks from this place. It (Club) wasn’t here then. We made do with what we had; we had a backboard made out of a piece of wood and an old tire rim.” He went on to say, “It’s a shame today across the nation police are the most hated when kids need to know and feel safe and able to come running to police for safety. I love coming here every Wednesday. It was one of the most gratifying experiences to interact with the kids. We are going to see that the kids succeed. I challenge every adult here to become involved and make a difference in these children’s lives at the Club. This award is not about me, it’s about the kids.”