Savannah Youth City hosted its eighth annual Christmas party at Carey Hilliard’s to celebrate a year of community service on December 21.
Let me give you a little background.Justin West is the founder of a League of Brawn Development Center, the small but powerful group of men who provide support for everything from voter registration and food giveaways to the homeless to their annual Christmas bike giveaway to hundreds of families.
Justin or one of his brothers usually calls me at the last minute – like the day of a community event – and luckily for me, I had a few hours off to meet them. Knowing that everything they support is for a good cause, I show up without knowing anything about Beverlee Trotter and its mission to empower children through volunteerism and community outreach.
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As I walk in, I hear a gorgeous woman screaming Bunny Ware! OK, I know who it is! Beverly created Youth City because she “felt that there was a need for children to have discipline, good manners, coping skills and conflict resolution. I knew that giving children the opportunity to volunteer would broaden their life experiences.
With a guest speaker, tons of freebies, and a southern buffet on the agenda, I promise to catch up with Beverly later and then drop by to greet the State Farm agent. Vernon Donovan and Humane Society for Greater Savannah’s Montana Tohm. Calling each of them earlier today to let them know about this organization, they both wanted to attend to learn more about Youth City and their mission.
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After months of singing the praises of the League of Brawn brothers, I finally have the chance to introduce Vernon to Justin, Ernest Graham, Evans Topps, Lamark Young, James scott and Dillon jackson. By now the guys are used to me arranging them for photos, so they pose for a photo with Vernon and Montana before we all enter the banquet hall.
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Beverly introduces me to the students of New Hampstead Jayvion johnson and his cousin Jason johnson with a high school student in Savannah Christian warren. Guys tell me, “Being involved with Youth City has helped us become more confident and comfortable, become better people, and relax so we can communicate better. “Christian adds:” Volunteering is doing the right thing.
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The next step is Desire Priest, Director of Youth City and Masters of Public Administration student at Savannah State University. Savannah local convinces New York native Clara johnson to pose with her while overseeing the last minute details for the dozens of arriving guests.
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Navigating the room, I take a sweet tea from Michael albright then sit down to chat with the natives of the savannah Thaddeus Orr, Lamontia Brown and André Olivier. I learn that the trio met while working at Builders FirstSource and being avid community activists.
Wishing I could chat longer, I trot backwards and take a seat next to the local driver Joe Johnson Jr. and Korea Fields, the Executive Director of Reach Our Youth. Thanks to a last minute call from Dillon with League of Brawn, I made it to Liberty City’s seventh annual Christmas present.
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Not only were there freshly-released grills, free toy tables, and a DJ, there was also a video game bus and people from other nonprofits on-site who volunteered. It makes sense that Korea is here tonight and after hearing the guest speaker Robert gould works its magic, I fully understand what it is about tonight.
As Robert asks us to repeat, “Today is my time, my time, this is my atmosphere, my surroundings,” it is obvious that his mantra of achieving whatever you want is something Beverlee is familiar with.
Originally from Savannah and living throughout the city, Beverlee grew up in a large family with nine brothers. After seeing too much what you shouldn’t be doing, she knew what was needed to break cycles of behavior and teach future generations that there are different paths to future success.
“We have 60 underserved youth (ages 10-17) we are working with to increase positive cycles through volunteerism, leadership development, citizenship, life skills training and support. We do everything from trips to Atlanta and camps on Oatland Island to volunteering at Savannah Feed the Hungry, Walls of Hope and Emancipation Ceremonies in Savannah, ”says the founder of Savannah Youth City.
To conclude with a perfect group photo of Beverlee and her Savannah Youth City family, she adds, “We even had famous actor Sean Penn with us to help low-income families affected by COVID-19 and Hurricane Matthew. . We were one of three organizations chosen because we are prepared for disasters and were able to distribute gift cards worth $ 50,000 last year to (disabled, elderly and) low-income people. .
The $ 50,000 was split between three organizations, with Youth City receiving 250 gift cards of $ 90 at that time, she said.
Imagine me clapping because that’s maybe the best part of what I can do, highlight the people we don’t hear a lot about and highlight the people who make Savannah a better Savannah! Happy New Year everyone !
Learn more on Facebook at savannahyouthcityinc.
Invite Bunny Ware to your gathering, gala, or other social event. Contact her at 912-844-1122 or by email at [email protected] See more Bunny columns at SavannahNow.com/Lifestyle/.