After 25 years, Boys & Girls Club still going strong

Published 6:51 pm Friday, March 31, 2017

LaGRANGE- “25 years is a very significant milestone.”

That encouraging statement came from LaGrange Mayor Jim Thornton Thursday evening at the Del’Avant Event Center as he congratulated the Boys & Girls Club of West Georgia and Chambers County on celebrating 25 years of work at its annual dinner.

“We should never lose sight of the community and lose sight of the young people growing up in this community,” said Thornton, addressing the large crowd at the dinner. “We as individuals can do something to improve the lives of young people and give them a better future.”

The celebration dinner was represented well by the youth, as a dozen or more young people were selected from the four club locations (LaGrange, Chambers County, Ala., and two clubs in Hogansville) to serve dinner and wait tables for the guests attending.

The Boys & Girls Club of West Georgia has served in Troup County since 1992 and has “sought to inspire and enable all young people, especially those that need us most, to realize their full potential as responsible, productive and caring citizens,” according to its motto.

Throughout the event, many of the sponsors like Mike Patton Auto Family, West Georgia Technical College, Amerigroup, Inc., Charterbank, Interface, Valley United Fund, local law enforcement and others were recognized for all their consistent support, as well as all the staff members who work to constantly better impact the lives of youths in that community they’re serving.

“We think tonight went phenomenally,” said Stephanie Williams, the Area Unit Director at the Callaway Teen Center. “We were very happy with the success and support of the event. We always have an annual event to make sure we’re communicating with the community to let them know what we’re doing, our successes and getting with them so they can support us even more than what they already have. I’m very pleased with tonight.”

During the event, the club acknowledged one of its members, Troup High School freshman Jeremiah Holston, as the 2017 Youth of the Year.

While speaking about the instrumental impact that the club has on its members, Williams pointed out that in recent years only 87 percent of youth that are in the organization have missed time in school and 99.2 percent of club members were promoted to the next grade level.

“One of the things the Boys & Girls Club have focused on was improving the visibility of our organization, having a sustainable business model and creating facilities that will improve the overall experience of kids,” said Williams.

At the end of his speech, while Thornton challenged community members to “engage more of our time and resources with our children” and “build nurturing relationships” with the youth, he also praised everyone that has their hand in helping and supporting the organization.

“The word gratitude is to the staff, the supporters, the volunteers and the parents because you are what keeps the Boys & Girls Club going. You are what keeps this organization thriving.”

“The past year we are truly proud of the fact that we have went along with the organization as a whole – Boys & Girls Club of America – and we’ve continued with the focus on youth,” said Williams, who hopes to see the club last at least another 25 years in the West Georgia area.

“We talk a lot about the kids in the neighborhoods but what are we honestly doing? The Boys & Girls Club of West Georgia has really put their foot down and said, ‘Hey we are going to be a pillar. We are going to step forward in working with those youth ages 18 and up.’ What I’m most proud of this year is the launching of the Callaway Teen Center and Teen Fusion that I believe will turn into something great.”


Shirttail- Reach James Simpson II at 706-884-7311, ext. 2155 or by email at