Boys & Girls Clubs alumni across the world attest to the fact that their futures started within their Club’s walls. Several celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez, Mark Wahlberg, Kerry Washington, Shaun White, Denzel Washington, and many others were all products of a Boys and Girls Club somewhere.
The Destin area is lucky to be such a vital part of the vibrant and active Boys & Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast. Their mission is: “To enable all young people, especially those that need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, and responsible citizens.”
Because today’s youth are tomorrow’s leaders, it is critical to provide every young person out there with as much support, opportunities, and skills as possible. Whether they need a place for encouragement, a place to do their homework, or just a place to hang out, Boys and Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast is ready to assist. With club locations from South Walton and Defuniak, into Destin, FWB and Pensacola, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast had over 1300 kids enrolled in programs last summer with over 1200 being served during the school year.
Boys & Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast was founded in 1968 and has undergone many positive modifications and expansions since then. The impact that this local organization has had on the community is immeasurably profound. Also, the support that the local communities have provided to the organization is overwhelming.
Educational statistics undeniably show that the programs provided by Boys & Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast are both positive and impactful regarding education. With such a lasting impression on the youth of the area, it will not be surprising if we find a future world leader, celebrity, or world-class athlete attributing their success to their time at Boys & Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast.
Q & A with Shervin Rassa, CEO – Boys & Girls Club of the Emerald Coast
*How long have you been involved with Boys and Girls Club of the Emerald Coast? How did you become involved?
I have been with the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast for over six years and within the Boys & Girls Clubs movement for over fifteen years. I began my career within the Boys & Girls Clubs movement with the Tampa Organization. My entire career has been dedicated to the human services sector but I committed myself to the Boys & Girls Clubs mission several years ago because of the impactful programs and people that truly change young peoples’ lives on a daily basis. Throughout our organization, State and Country Boys & Girls Clubs are shaping young people into being productive, caring, and responsible citizens.
*What are some ways that the organization fundraises?
Community support is instrumental in not only our success, but our sustainability, and will be for generations to come. We work to be as creative as possible with raising funds. Most of our funding comes from state and federal grants, local foundations, business & corporate support, special events, and individual giving. We host several events from local Club level to organizational level, our premier annual event is our Stake & Steak Dinner that always highlights a BGC Alumni as a keynote speaker. In past years we have had Evander Holyfield, Jackie Joyner Kersee, and Rudy. We will be announcing our speaker for this year’s event shortly, stay tuned!
*What impact has Boys and Girls Club of the Emerald Coast had on the community in the last year? How many youth have been served?
Boys & Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast is celebrating it’s 50thyear anniversary in providing youth development in Northwest Florida. In my time here we have grown immensely, not in the fact of opening new Clubs but serving more kids at our Clubs. I am very proud of the outcome driven experiences that members are having at our Clubs. In the last year we have served 3,944 youth within our three county scope of service. A few other great stats:
- Our organizational overall GPA is 3.04
- 7% of our youth progressed on time to their next grade level
- On average 361 youth maintain honor roll on a quarterly basis at school
- Club members served over 11,000 combined Club and Community service hours
- 110,780+ healthy after school snacks were served
*What is the most rewarding part of your involvement with the organization?
There are so many rewarding aspects of my role, but by far I still love seeing our young people progress, graduate from high school, become leaders in their communities, and eventually make their own impact on others.
*Are there any upcoming events?
All of our Clubs are continuously hosting events. Our annual Day for Kids event, for example, is scheduled for September 29. Day for Kids is a national celebration of the life changing work happening at Boys & Girls Clubs across the nation. It is open to the public and will be a fun-filled day for families. We will also soon be announcing details for our 5thannual Stake & Steak Dinner.
*What is one thing you want readers to know about Boys and Girls Club of the Emerald Coast?
Boys & Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast is a youth development organization that is mission and outcome driven. We strive to ensure that all of our members achieve academic success, live healthy lifestyles and lead their lives as moral and responsible citizens of their communities.
*How can someone become involved or help with Boys and Girls Club of the Emerald Coast?
We are always looking for supportive and caring adults to work with our members and be supporters of our mission. Anyone interested can apply online through our website Bgcec.com or email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.