Thousands of boys and girls have walked through the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County (BGCSC) since they first opened in 1970. The mission of the BGCSC is to enable all young people, especially those who need it most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, and responsible citizens.

With a goal of having all members on track to graduate high school with a plan for the future, the BGCSC provides after-school and summer programs for more than 5,000 children and youth, ages six to 18. Through its five Clubs – three in Sarasota, one in Venice, and one in North Port – the organization offers educational programming/classes, outdoor activities, art, culinary lessons, and more. In addition, “satellite Clubs” are offered in schools throughout the county, which are administered by teachers and available to children who are out of reach of their local Club. While there are several full- and part-time staff members, the BGCSC operates with the help of its many volunteers.

Resident Susan Mauntel has consistently worked with children in after-school programs, so when she relocated to Sarasota, the BGCSC seemed like the perfect fit. Today, Susan volunteers once a week as a tutor, helping grade school students with their homework. Resident Harriet Josenhanss began working with the organization in the late 1990s. She served as a member of the Foundation Board, and became a member of the “Heritage Club” after including the BGCSC in her estate plan. Today, Harriet serves as an as-needed volunteer, helping with mailings and bringing groups by – particularly from Plymouth Harbor – for outreach and tours of the campus. “It’s a great organization. I can’t say enough about it,” she says. “It’s an emotional experience when you enter the facility and see all the positive activities taking place.”

Lee DeLieto, Sr., a member of both the Plymouth Harbor, Inc. and the Plymouth Harbor Foundation Board of Trustees, began working with the BGCSC in 1996. A friend and BGCSC board member invited him to attend a Christmas event and, as Lee puts it, “That was it. I was hooked.” Since then, he has served as a board member, Chair, Secretary, and now Treasurer for the organization. “Working with these kids is one of my greatest pleasures in life,” he says. “There are so many stories of how the Boys & Girls Club changed, and in many cases, saved their lives.”

Additionally, Plymouth Harbor Foundation Board member Lee Bryon spent years as a fundraiser for Community Youth Development (CYD) before the agency merged its youth leadership and service programs with the BGCSC in August 2016 – specifically STAR Leadership Training and SRQVolunteen. She has helped raise money for the organization’s teen programming and annual Leadership Breakfast – an event that Plymouth Harbor is proud to participate in each year.

Many lives have benefitted from the hard work and dedication of the BGCSC. To learn more, visit bgcsarasota.com or call 941-366-3911.