BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS

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Boys & Girls Clubs of Edinburg Rio Grande Valley event to feature speakers, new campaign

 

A Boys & Girls Clubs of Edinburg Rio Grande Valley breakfast event in August will feature the president of the national organization — his first time in the region.

“We’re having our second annual I Am Great breakfast,” said Sabrina Walker Hernandez, Boys & Girls Clubs of Edinburg Rio Grande Valley CEO. “This year, for the first time ever, we’re actually having the president, Jim Clark, from Boys & Girls Clubs of America come in. He’s going to be our leadership talk.”

In addition to Clark’s speech, the breakfast will highlight the Edinburg organization’s pick for Youth of the Year.

“They’re going to kind of launch the breakfast and give it an inspirational launch on their story and be an example of these are the types of kids that we serve,” Walker Hernandez said.

Paired with this look at a club member’s hopeful future is a look at a past member’s triumph.

“We’re going to have the Voice of Success, and right now that’s always featured a club alumni,” Walker Hernandez said. “We’ve extended an invitation to Judge Omar Maldonado, and he has agreed to be that Voice of Success.”

Perhaps one of the biggest parts of the breakfast is an initiative aiming to reshape the economic fortunes of families in the region.

“We’re going to do a call to action, and that call to action is going to be a campaign called 4550 No More because 45 1/2 percent of Hidalgo County youth live below poverty level,” Walker Hernandez said. “It’s an annual giving campaign and we’re asking people to join that club to give $45.50 a month to eliminate poverty.”

Completely eliminating poverty might sound like a lofty goal, but it’s one Walker Hernandez has eyed for some time. The organization already has led some programming based on studies centered around keeping children from future lives of poverty.

“We really focused on saying, if you do these three things, kids will be less likely to fall into poverty,” Walker Hernandez said. “One, wait until you’re 21 to get married, wait until you get married to have kids. Two, graduate from high school. And three, obtain full-time employment. If we do those three things, they’re 98 percent less likely to fall into poverty.”

The I Am Great breakfast — along with the launch of the 4550 No More campaign — is scheduled for 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 9 at the Echo Hotel and Conference Center in Edinburg.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Edinburg Rio Grande Valley have served youths in the region since 1969, eventually expanding to include eight locations in the area.

“We hope that we take the kids who need it the most, combine them with that Boys & Girls Club experience, that we would get outcomes for the kids — that they reach their full potential when they’re older around academic success, healthy lifestyle, and character and civic engagement,” Walker Hernandez said. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Edinburg Rio Grande Valley use these three tenets to form meaningful experiences for club members. No all sites are sports-specific, Walker Hernandez added, explaining that limited resources force the organization to narrow its focus.

The club locations are designed to be as accessible and convenient to as many local children as possible. Half of the sites are located in school campuses, effectively eliminating transportation barriers.

“It’s all about how do we reach beyond our walls and partner with school districts to reach those kids who may not otherwise be served,” Walker Hernandez said.

She added that the organization is always in need of volunteers for both one-time events and ongoing involvement.

And as for parents looking to sign their children up to start benefit from the guidance and opportunities available at the club?

“It’s very easy,” Walker Hernandez said. “They can join via membership, they can join online at edinburgkids.com or they come in person and join the club.”

Learn more about the Boys & Girls Clubs of Edinburg Rio Grande Valley at edinburgkids.com.