BRADENTON, FL – Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County held its 4th annual black tie affair, “Little Wishes, BIG DREAMS,” on November 22 at the Manatee Performing Arts Center. The event raised over $100,000 to support the Boys & Girls Clubs’ enriching afterschool and summer programs.
This was the fourth year that the Magnetic Men of Manatee County were honored at the event. The Magnetic Men were chosen for their personal achievements, community involvement and philanthropy. This year, Ben Bakker, Bill Blalock, Sandy Kirkpatrick, Tom Seguin, Chris Vining and Kerry Ward were honored during a ceremony hosted by Summer Smith of Bay News 9. In addition, there were two surprise honorees recognized for their dedication to the community.
“Because of her influence in making our local technical school the best in the country and her upcoming impact on our school system, the event committee selected Dr. Mary Cantrell as the first woman to be honored by the Boys & Girls Clubs,” said Valerie Bliss, Vice President of Development for Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County.
Willie Cooper, Club Director for the Palmetto Boys & Girls Club, was also recognized for decades of service to the youth of Manatee County. “Kids are drawn in by the fun he creates, feel safe in his strong presence, and are shaped by the life experiences and relationship he offers,” said Marti King, the incoming board chairperson for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County.
In an inspiring tribute, present and past Club kids took the stage to share their sincere gratitude for Mr. Cooper’s unselfish dedication and guidance. “Mr. Cooper’s great joy is in seeing kids choose right, reach their potential, and become people who impact people,” Ms. King said. “We were all moved by thanking and honoring him.”
The night fittingly ended with the guests leaving with the wonderment of a child, thanks to the humor and amazing magic of Bill Herz.
About Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County
The mission of the Boys & Girls Clubs is to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County provides hope and opportunity to over 6,000 young people at seven locations (Daughtrey Elementary School, Orange Ridge-Bullock Elementary School, Harllee Middle School, Lincoln Memorial Middle School, Southeast High School and the traditional DeSoto and Palmetto Clubs). Open the door and take a tour of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County. For more information or to arrange a tour, call 761-2582 or visit www.bgcmanatee.org.