Throughout the next couple of years, people can expect to see more state and local legislators in Georgia becoming honorary members of the Boys & Girls Clubs.
As part of that, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Lanier hosted a Legislative Appreciation Breakfast at its Teen Center in Gainesville on Monday, June 10.
Rep. Matt Dubnik, R-Gainesville, Gainesville Mayor Danny Dunagan and Hall County Commissioner Jeff Stowe received honorary memberships for their active support and work with the clubs.
“We’re bringing our local and state leaders together to share the impact of the clubs,” Kellie Brownlow, executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Georgia said. “...Many say that Boys & Girls Clubs is very well known, we’re just not known well.”
Steven Mickens, chief executive officer at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Lanier, shined a light on organization’s positive influence in Hall County and surrounding areas. He said the local clubs serve over 6,000 youth and teens annually, and continue to expand.
“The support we’ve had here has been tremendous, especially through our local city and county government,” Mickens said. “The partnerships have been fantastic. We are the third largest (Boys & Girls Clubs) organization in the state of Georgia.”
Some of the local Boys & Girls Clubs members opened up to the legislators about their experiences.
Nine-year-old Ashyah Harrison said she considers all of the people involved with the organization family.
“Everybody here is so supportive of what you do,” she said. “I get to learn more almost every day because of tutoring.”
Tyvez Bledson, a rising high school sophomore, said the club in Gainesville provides a daily positive outlet.
“I like that it’s somewhere to be, other than being on the streets or doing something bad,” he said. “You can make your life better by coming here.”
Dubnik, Dunagan and Stowe shared the nature of their jobs with the youth members, each expressing their personal attachments to the community.
“All I want to do in my term as mayor is to leave Gainesville better than I found it, and I found it in great shape,” Dunagan said. “...We’re very fortunate to live in this great community. It’s a very giving and a very caring community, just like this Boys & Girls Club.”