By Sarrah Peters, News Editor
The Boys and Girls Clubs of Gadsden/Etowah County received a financial shot in the arm on July 25.
The Etowah County Football Preview Show at the Mort Glosser Amphitheatre raised money for club programs. According to Boys and Girls Club Director Sonquez Williams, the money raised will be used to support the club’s after school programming by providing supplies and scholarships to students in need.
“The Boys and Girls Club’s mission is to enable all children, regardless of economic background the opportunity to have a great future,” said Williams.
To achieve this lofty goal, the Boys and Girls club offers a wide variety of programs to inspire the attendees to become their best selves, including financial education programs, art programs, educational programs and athletic programs.
According to Williams, an estimated 1,400 people attended the football Preview show. The benefit event featured all 10 Etowah County high school football teams and cheerleading squads from Gadsden City, Southside, Etowah, Sardis, Hokes Bluff, Glencoe, Gaston, Westbrook Christian, West End and Coosa Christian.
Each head football coach said a few words about the upcoming season and recognized one of his athletes as the team’s “Breakout Player” for 2019. In between coaches’ remarks, cheerleaders from each school performed a routine. An All-County Preseason Football Team was announced at the conclusion of the event.
Williams said that the event was planned after scheduling conflicts arose with the Boys and Girls club typical fundraiser, a dinner that invites athletes from the University of Alabama and Auburn University. Instead, the club looked closer to home and came up with the football preview to showcase local talents while fundraising.
“We knew the great personalities we have with our local coaches,” said Williams.
After the decision had been made to host the football preview, Williams said that the event came together within just a couple months, due in large part to enthusiastic support from the local schools, support from Jeff Allen of WQSB and the hosts of Average Joe’s Sports Talk.
The event also had many sponsors, including Exchange Bank, Kia Stores of Gadsden and Rainbow City, Panda Express, the Etowah County Commission, the City of Gadsden, Healthnet Consulting, Shannon, Banks and Smith Insurance, Dani V. Bone and Sam D. Bone Attorneys at Law, Jay Freeman, Alabama Teachers Credit Union, WinSouth Credit Union, BSN Sports, Icons Sports, East Gadsden Sporting Goods, Buffalo Rock and Collier Funeral home.
Williams said the event was a success and that the Boys and Girls Club “would love to have it be an annual event.”
To volunteer or get involved at the Boys and Girls Club, Williams recommends interested parties call the facility at 256-459-4573 to schedule a tour.
“I encourage everyone to come by and see what’s going on at the Boys and Girls Club,” said Williams.
Chris McCarthy contributed to this article.