The Boys & Girls Clubs of Hall County have a well-known military figure, author and television host headlining their sold-out Futures for Kids Gala on Tuesday night.
Lt. Col. Oliver North is the keynote speaker of the 6:30 p.m. dinner at the Gainesville Civic Center. North will also take part in a 5:30 p.m. VIP reception and a book signing after the dinner and program.
“People just recognize him as a true American hero who cares about community and family,” said Joyce Wilson, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Hall County’s vice president of Development & Marketing.
North was a Marine officer for 22 years and was awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star for valor and two Purple Hearts. He is the host of “War Stories with Oliver North” on Fox News and has authored 13 best-selling novels.
The event serves as a major fundraiser for the Boys & Girls Clubs, which Wilson said expects a record-breaking crowd of 400 for the 13th annual gala. The county’s eight locations of the Boys & Girls Clubs serve more than 640 at-risk youth daily and more than 5,000 kids annually.
Still, Wilson said, more than 8,000 Hall County students leave school each day without a safe place to go.
“There’s so many more that really need a Boys & Girls Club,” Wilson said.
Wilson said it costs the club $1,500 to serve a child on a year-round basis and that the fees paid by the members are somewhere between nothing and $40. The difference is made up for with donations and grants.
“We rely solely on community support,” Wilson said.
The theme of this year’s event is “Be a hero for kids.” It will hone in on the importance of staff, mentors, role models and donors in the process while telling the success stories of past and present club members.
“We believe that it takes all types of people to support young people and support our organization,” Wilson said.
Gainesville Fire Chief Jerome Yarbrough, who grew up in the Boys & Girls Clubs, will be honored with the Helping Hands Award for “service, dedication and commitment.” Also, Jayla Williams will be recognized as Hall County’s Youth of the Year.
Donavan Moss, a former Youth of the Year and an Air Force Academy student, will be back in town for the event, as well.
Futures for Kids Gala
When: Tuesday, VIP reception at 5:30 p.m., dinner and program at 6:30 p.m., book signing after program
Where: Gainesville Civic Center, 830 Green St. NE
Tickets: Sold out