On Tuesday, October 20th, over 200 supporters from around the community gathered at Ocoee Retreat Center to help celebrate the Boys and Girls Club of Benton/Ocoee Youth Center’s 8th Anniversary.
“We’re extremely proud of our accomplishments over the past 8 years,” said John Miles, retiring President of the Board of Directors for the Ocoee Youth Center. “When Cindy Hooker started the club 8 years ago, the children of Benton had no after school program. Our program not only allows these children to spend their afternoons in a positive and fun atmosphere, but it also focuses on character development and creates a safe place for our children to learn and grow.”
The program opened with John Miles thanking all those in attendance, then shared a brief history behind how the club got started. Benton Unit Director D.J. Grady delivered information on the number of children the club served and the many things children have an opportunity to experience while attending the club. He also went on to explain the Benton Club had reached maximum enrollment of the number of children the club could serve and explained to serve more children, there would have to be an expansion to the existing facility. He then stated there was an extensive waiting list of children hoping to attend.
Attendees were then entertained by as several members of the Benton Unit. Rayleigh Hawkins sang “Everyday” by Rascal Flats. The audience was then shown three short films made by club members sharing their story of what the club means to them.
Key note speaker, Matt Ryerson, Executive Director of United Way of the Ocoee Region, talked with the crowd about the importance of making a difference in a child’s life. The speech, “One face in the Crowd” talked about how it can take only one person to make a difference in a child’s life.
The evening ended with a live auction and raffle. Items auctioned were a club quilt made by Margie Ratcliff and a set of corn hole boards made by Willie Ledford. Each item featured painted handprints of the members of the Benton Club. The quilt was donated back to the Benton Unit and is on display in the main common area of the club.
The Benton Boys and Girls Club would like to thank the following sponsors for the 2015 Anniversary event: Artistic Landscapes, Benton United Methodist Church, Check Into Cash, Clear View Baptist Church, Community Fellowship Church, Crystal Geyser, Dina Moran, Dr. David and Jan Darden, Easy Living, LLC., First Volunteer Bank, Fresh n Low, John and Lisa Miles, Lions Club, Living Water Community Church, McDonald’s Inc. Smith Management, Ocoee Outdoors, Ocoee River Jam, Old Fort Tire, Pioneer Jewelry/Pioneer Auto Sales, Preferred Pharmacy, Polk County Chamber of Commerce, Polk County School Board, Polk County Sheriff’s Department, Silvers Family, Stinnett Family, Tarver Distributing, United Way of Bradley County and Woodmen Life/Adam and Rachel Lowe. Special thanks also goes to Matt Ryerson and the staff of United Way of the Ocoee Region for their continuous support of the Benton Unit.