Branna Williams and B&G Clubs of Southern Carolina Director Jeteseya Dennis present club members a $300,000 check.
A $300,000 donation is welcome news to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Carolina, though more is needed to sustain the local group in helping young people.
The donation kicked off the two-year-old local club's 2013 fundraising campaign April 10 at the SouthernCarolina Alliance business center in Barnwell. Local attorney Dan Williams told the crowd of board members, staff, parents, residents and club members the donation is the unclaimed portion of a settlement from a 16-year class action lawsuit against a financial company.
Since some of the original plaintiffs were unable to be located, Williams called this "the next best use of the money" because he believes in the club's mission of helping children. "It's one of the best things Barnwell and Allendale have going for them," said Williams, a father of three.
Williams' wife Branna cited Dan's "perseverance and determination" for sticking with the lawsuit, which will benefit so many children.
Dan Williams said it was his wife who encouraged him to keep pursuing the lawsuit after he was ready to give up. "Just this once I'm glad you were right and I was wrong," he said with a smile to his wife.
Perseverance and determination also sum up how the club has gotten to where they are today - from an idea a group of individuals had many years ago to an organization that is helping nearly 100 children in Barnwell and Allendale counties.
Jeteseya Dennis, the club's executive director, said the donation will be used to sustain their organization, including some which will be set aside for program and college scholarships.
It will help youth like Winston Leonard of Allendale, who was named the club's Youth of the Year.
Leonard considers it a "great honor" to be chosen to represent the club on the state level, and possibly the national level, because of how the club has helped him grow. "I'm more aware of the potential I have inside," he said. "I am here to be a positive role model and especially want my little brother to know I'm doing this for him."
Marvin Love, a staff member with the Allendale unit, said he has seen Leonard become a great leader. He cited how Leonard volunteered to help two special-needs boys on a school trip to Orlando, Fla. "He took those two boys under his wing," said Love.
More donations are needed to sustain the club, which seeks to collect $244,689 in donations from individual donors, churches, businesses and municipalities, plus $72,000 more in grants, announced board member James Wallace. Jordan Baptist and Second Baptist churches presented $1,000 checks.
It's for "those children, our children," he said, pointing to the ones in the crowd.
"These are our future leaders," said Nancy Frost, a national club representative who has helped the group in their process to establish the club. "We want to get them on a path to success."
To learn more about donating to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Carolina, visit www.bgcsoutherncarolina.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (803) 541-7201. Checks can be mailed to P.O. Box 205, Barnwell, S.C. 29812.
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