Boys and Girls Club Encouraging Our Youth

members of the panel

By: Tonya Jackson

The mission of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast is “To inspire and empower all young people to achieve their full potential.” To help them reach this objective they are organizing their operations in the coming months, to more effectively focus programs and services for youth living in the communities it serves in Okaloosa and Walton Counties, including Fort Walton Beach, Destin, DeFuniak Springs, and Santa Rosa Beach.    

A new organization will be created, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Pensacola (BGCGP), to provide services to young people who currently belong to the Clubs in Escambia County, including two facilities, one in the Englewood Community Center at 2751 North “H” Street and the other operating out of Montclair Elementary School.

BGCEC, like other non-profits, has experienced increased demand for services due to challenging economic conditions at the national, state and local levels, coupled with reductions in charitable giving and grant availability. The Emerald Coast’s Board of Directors and the newly organized Board of Directors for Greater Pensacola, with the support of Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA), have developed a strategic reorganization plan that will enable the Clubs to maximize impact for the youth and parents living in all of these communities.

Leslie Hunter-Huff, Executive Director-Escambia County, held a #Connected: Resource Fair recently to provide their students with information vital to college admission and success. This resource fair included a diverse panel of college graduates, several who has terminal degrees.  Each panelist suggested tips for students to use right now as they complete their high school educations and for when they enter college. Additionally there were workshops for the students to attend so they could learn how to successfully complete college applications and write their entrance essays.

When speaking about their everyday needs Hunter-Huff shared, “So few of our young people are not using guidance counselors so they can learn about the opportunities available to them. We help them bridge the gap and reinforce the need to use the school’s guidance counselors for options and career plans. If they want to be an engineer we help them with the steps to accomplish their dream. We expose them to all the different opportunities in our communities. We create an environment where our students can open up and talk. No topic is off limit. Everything we do here is under three priority  outcomes: academics success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. That’s a productive citizen.”

If you are looking for a way to give back to the community, Hunter-Huff would love to talk to you. She can be reached at 850-696-1642.

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