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Opening Doors to Great Futures Dinner Honors Corporate Community Leader, Caldwell Trust Company and Lee Thacker

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Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties recently hosted their October Opening Doors to Great Futures Dinner at the Robert and Joan Lee Boys & Girls Club in Venice where they honored longtime community partner, Caldwell Trust Company and Senior Executive Vice President, Secretary and Trust Officer, and BGCSDC Board Member, Lee Thacker.

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 delicious three-course 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 personal Club experience and journey.

The October dinner featured a complimentary three-course meal prepared by members of the Culinary Arts program under the guidance of professional Executive Chef, Trae Peavey of Tripletail Seafood & Spirits. Before dinner, guests enjoyed a charcuterie board display courtesy of Boar’s Head. Tuscan Chicken with Rosemary Red Potatoes was served as the main course alongside a Pickled Cucumber Tomato Salad and Key Lime Pie for dessert.

“This was a wonderful opportunity for our Club members to learn from such a talented chef in our own Club kitchen,” said Bill Sadlo, President/CEO at Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties. “Our Club members loved working with Chef Trae while learning the important skills necessary to pursue a lasting career in the hospitality and service industry in our community.”

Youth of the Year, Ashley V., an 11th grader at Venice High School and proud member of the Robert and Joan Lee Boys & Girls Club since age 7, shared highlights of her journey at The Club and how these experiences have shaped her into the more confident young person she is today.

Ashley said, “When my parents told me they were enrolling me in The Club, my initial reaction was that I didn’t want to go. I was scared of opening up to others and of being placed in yet another new environment. However, The Club made me feel comfortable and safe. They created opportunities for me and made The Club feel like a home and a family. I began to excel in school. I learned to be comfortable with who I am. “

She continued on to say “Often, we shy away from amazing opportunities because we are scared, but The Club helped me learn that to make change, I need to speak up.” I am who I am because of the support I’ve received from The Club. “

Following Ashley, Caldwell Trust Company was presented with the Corporate Leader Award in appreciation of outstanding leadership and their consistent support in empowering youth to achieve their full potential.  Lee Thacker was also honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award in appreciation of his 26+ years of visionary guidance and outstanding leadership in service to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties and his dedication to empowering youth to achieve their full potential which started decades before he moved to Venice as he tirelessly served on multiple committees and boards at Boys & Girls Clubs in Columbia, South Carolina; Orlando, Florida, and Atlanta, Georgia.

“We are honored to be involved with such an impactful organization and have never known anyone to be more involved with a non-profit at the level Lee Thacker has been for decades throughout the United States” said Kelly Caldwell,  CEO and President, Caldwell Trust Company.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties plans to continue showing the community through the Open Doors Dinner Series, a behind-the-scenes look into the many programs offered at The Club that empower and equip members to achieve great futures. The next Opening Doors to Great Futures Dinner is scheduled for Thursday, November 3rd at Lee Wetherington Boys & Girls Club where they will welcome back Sarasota  Yacht Club with guest, Executive Chef Bruce Bailey. Additional dates are being planned for 2023.

BGCSDC thanks Executive Chef Trae Peavey and Tripletail Seafood & Spirits for their ongoing partnership and for so expertly working alongside the teens to teach them the skills required to excel in the culinary arts.

ABOUT BOYS & GIRLS CLUBS OF SARASOTA AND DESOTO COUNTIES: 

Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties have played an integral role in the lives of local youth for more than 50 years, providing daily programs and services to thousands of young people. The mission of Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties is to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens. 

The vision is to provide a world-class Club experience that assures success is within reach of every young person who walks through our doors, with all members on track to graduate from high school with a plan for the future, demonstrating good character and citizenship, and living a healthy lifestyle. For more information, visit www.bgcsdc.org or call 941-366-3911.


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