April 28, 2023 (Bradenton, Fla) On Tuesday, April 25, Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County held their annual Good Morning! Great Futures! Breakfast at Manatee Performing Arts Center where they honored Jayden D., their 2023-24 Youth of the Year Representative, presented the Community Partnership Award to NDC Construction Company and inducted Gene Brown, Mayor of the City of Bradenton, into the Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County Alumni Hall of Fame. Mayor Brown, a Club member for over 10 years starting at the age of 8, reflected on how important the Club was to him as a child and his candid gratitude captured the hearts of those in attendance.
Club Alumni Hall of Famer, Omar Edwards, spoke about Gene Brown’s Club days, life achievements and community involvement before he welcomed him as the latest member of the Alumni Hall of Fame. Fellow Hall of Famer Willie Cooper, Junior Youth of the Year, Dior A., and Dawn Stanhope, CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County, joined Mr. Edwards to present Gene with a Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County Alumni Hall of Fame plaque and letterman jacket. Mayor Brown stepped to the podium holding the trophy he received as “Boy of the Year” in 1983.
“What I’m holding here is the trophy that I got in 1983 and it’s meant a lot to me over the years,” said Gene Brown. “You look out at this room today and see people who have gone to the Club over the years, and without the Club, a lot of kids wouldn’t have the opportunity to do good things or great things for our community.”
Mayor Brown went on to share that, as a child, his mother divorced his biological father to escape his abuse. “So, there was a lot of emotion going on and when I walked into that Club on 34th Street at eight years old, it saved my life from the standpoint of where we were in our lives.”
He credits the Clubs staff and volunteers for giving him “direction on what to do and how to be a good person and give back.”
“And as we look through life, it is about giving back,” he said.
“We are so proud to induct Mayor Gene Brown into our Alumni Hall of Fame,” said Dawn Stanhope. “He has dedicated his life to giving back to his community in service to others and is the epitome of what the Clubs mean when we say, ‘Great futures start here.’ ”
Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County also presented Ron Allen, President of NDC Construction Company, and his team with the Community Partnership Award for their dedication to supporting the organization’s mission.
“This award really is our company and family award because there are organizations that we like to support in the community, but the Boys & Girls Clubs is really special because of what it does in the community for our youth,” said Ron Allen.
About Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County
Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County’s mission is “to enable all young people, especially those that need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.” In operation since 1946, Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County currently provides afterschool and summer programs for over 1,500 young people at six locations (2 traditional Clubs and 4 school-based Clubs). The Clubs offer a safe place to learn and grow, where members experience both life-enhancing and character-building programs focused on academic success, healthy lifestyles, and good character and leadership. For more information, call 941-761-2582 or visit www.bgcmanatee.org or www.facebook.com/BoysGirlsClubsManatee.