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BGCSDC Partners with First Watch To Kick Off the 2024 Opening Doors to Great Futures Dinner Series

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On January 25, Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties hosted the first Opening Doors to Great Futures Dinner of 2024 at the Lee Wetherington Boys & Girls Club in Sarasota.

The Opening Doors to Great Futures Dinner series was conceptualized as a way for community members to learn more about the organization’s mission, programs, and impact. Each event features a greeting by Club members, a reception, a tour of the Club, and a meal prepared and served by Club members who participate in the organization’s Culinary Arts Program under the guidance of a professional guest chef.  Each dinner also highlights BGCSDC’s award-winning youth development programs and features an outstanding teen sharing their own personal Club experience and journey.

The January dinner featured a three-course meal prepared by members alongside professional Executive Chef, Shane Schaibly of First Watch. Before dinner, guests enjoyed a charcuterie board display courtesy of Boar’s Head which was followed by First Watch’s famous Million Dollar Bacon and Avocado Toast. The entrée featured a Barbacoa Chilaquiles Breakfast Bowl, with poached egg, lime crema, black beans, and pico de gallo followed by cinnamon sugar churros paired with vanilla ice cream and Mexican chocolate sauce for dessert. First Watch also gifted guests with “brunch bucks” and Project Sunrise coffee which is crafted in partnership with the Mujeres en Café (or Women in Coffee) based in South America. First Watch has made a long-term commitment to buy  beans grown by the Mujeres en Café at a premium price to support this movement of women coffee growers and ensure their communities thrive for years to come.

During dinner, Club alumni and Boys & Girls Clubs of America Southeast Region Youth of the Year, Leonela Tase-Sueiro, who recently joined BGCSDC in the role of Workforce Programs Specialist, addressed the audience to share her reflections on the journey from Club member to the young adult she is today. Tase Sueiro stated “the Club gave me opportunity after opportunity to prove myself, surprise myself, build my resume and my confidence. They celebrated my grit, they rewarded my tenacity. They told me I was a leader, so I believed it.” 

She continued saying; “I can trace every experience I’ve ever put on a resume back to the Club. They asked me to speak at events, so I learned to amplify my voice. They were so sure of me and what I could do, that I had no other choice but to be sure of myself too.”  

Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties will continue the Opening Doors Dinner series program throughout the year to inform the community about the quality and range of of the various programs offered by the organization that empower and equip members to achieve great futures.

BGCSDC sincerely thanks Head Chef Shane Schaibly and his First Watch colleagues Michael Tomassini, Scott Nuss, Karen Sainsbury, and Kait Plocharsky who were instrumental in ensuring Club members felt confident in their culinary skills and front-of-house execution of the evening. BGCSDC also thanks the entire First Watch Executive Team for their ongoing partnership and genuine commitment to providing teens with the skills required to excel in the culinary arts.

I've worked in kitchens my entire career, so when I tell you, these kids have a bright future in restaurants, it inspires me more than you can imagine, "said Schaibly." At the heart of it all, cooking is about bringing people together. First Watch is proud to be a partner in creating more of these moments - especially those alongside our youngest chefs - to empower the next generation of culinary visionaries. Whether they decide to reimagine breakfast, brunch, and lunch, we'll leave it up to them!"

Click here for more information on the Culinary Arts program at BGCSDC, visit

Click here to read more on Club alumni and Boys & Girls Clubs of America Southeast Region Youth of the Year, Leonela Tase-Sueiro.

As seen in Scene Magazine

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