Every Day is a Chance to Change a Child’s Future and Mac & Cheese Fest is One Way to Do It
An increasing number of children are at home with no adult care or supervision. Yet, young people need to know that someone cares about them. Boys & Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast (BGCEC) offer that and more. Club programs and services promote and enhance the development of boys and girls by instilling a sense of competence, usefulness, belonging and influence all in a safe place to learn, grow and have fun.
Our local BGCEC has taken members from the Clubhouse to the White House; from the game room to the corporate boardroom; from the high school football field to the NFL; from a band room to Carnegie Hall. And from the streets to guidance, friendship and a place to belong.
Boys & Girls Clubs Emerald Coast offers programs that are addressing today’s most pressing youth issues. “Our programs teach young people the skills they need to succeed in life, while providing a safe place for hundreds of Northwest Florida children to go after school and during the summer,” says C.E.O. Shervin Rassa.
Local area programs basically focus on three priorities: Academic Success where members are provided with tools to graduate from high school with a plan for their future; Good Character and Citizenship through a variety of programs such as Keystone Club, Torch Club, Youth of the Year, Youth for Unity and Netsmartz; and Healthy Lifestyles where members learn to adopt and maintain positive behaviors about life, nutrition and self.
In order to support all of its valuable programs, BGCEC hosts several events throughout the year: the widely popular Mac & Cheese Festival, the Epic Bakery Competition in Defuniak Springs and BrunchFest in Pensacola.
The community adds to BGCEC produced foodie festivals by embracing the organization as a charity beneficiary for Shrimp & Grits Festival, Burgers, Bourbon & Beer Festival and Half Shells on the Harbor. The BGCEC is invested in these productions as a driven and organized volunteer force, partnering with event coordinators to bolster the ranks of triumphant events. To say the BGCEC is a hardworking nonprofit organization is an understatement.
Led by C.E.O. Shervin Rassa, the BGCEC is responsible for supporting local club members and a large and talented staff. “What better way to celebrate and support our club kids than a series of festivals focusing on family and foodie favorites?
Shervin has dedicated his career to youth development. He joined the Boys & Girls Club Movement roughly 22 years ago as an area director in Tampa, relocating to the Emerald Coast organization in 2012. He now oversees eight clubs throughout three counties, serving 3,200 children from Pensacola to DeFuniak Springs.
The 5th annual Mac & Cheese Festival takes place Sunday, March 5, 2023, from Noon to 3 p.m. at Destin Commons. The family-friendly event will feature gourmet, chef-inspired twists on the South’s favorite comfort food. Local restaurants far and wide will bring their best macaroni masterpieces to compete for the best mac and cheese in town. There are three categories each local restaurant can win in total: Judge’s Choice Award, People’s Choice Award, and Kid’s Choice Award. Attendees are invited to taste each delicious sample from the vendors and cast their vote – all the while supporting BGCEC.
To purchase tickets (VIP $45; General Admission $25; Children GA $15), visit Eventbrite. To compete, volunteer or sponsor, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Attendees and sponsors will want to keep a lookout for the “ultimate” ways to enjoy, celebrate and engage, and the best way to stay informed is through the BGCEC Facebook page.
BGCEC was born in 1968 as the Boys Club of the Playground Area with 15 Members. When economic conditions threatened the organization in 1988, local businessmen recognized the club’s value and potential and ensured it survived. More than 1,200 kids are registered during the school year, with usually more than 1,300 enjoying the BGCEC over the summer.
BGCEC is a registered IRS 501(c)3 charity and receives funding from contributions, special events, grants, and major donors such as Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation and United Way agencies in Escambia, Okaloosa and Walton Counties.