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A local effort to honor Black History Month and the Jackie Robinson Boys & Girls Club of Cairo/Grady County has resulted in more than $18,000 raised for the local youth organization.
What started off as just an idea back in 2020 in the mind of Stephen Francis finally launched into a month-wide reality in February of 2021. The director of the Jackie Robinson Boys & Girls Club recently called a meeting to share his idea with other African American community leaders: Teresa Gee- Hardy, Cynthia Cotton-Jones, Pat Mitchell, Shaunta Dismuke, Latrena Perry, Annette Higdon, Constance Brimm-Robinson, Fergus Robinson, Tangela Corker, Cynthia Hall, Marquita Rogers, Larry Black, Torenda Connell and Erikka Edwards.
Francis says his charge was simple, saying, “With all the things happening in the world right now, we as an African American community are driven to uphold our portion of the responsibilities of our local Jackie Robinson Boys & Girls Club in order to assure its continued success with our children. We are asking for a contributing gift of $100 from 100 supporters to achieve this $10,000 community goal during our Black History Month with all proceeds benefiting our Jackie Robinson Boys & Girls Club.”
Once he pitched the idea, he says everyone got to work. “It was like a wildfire had been set and started spreading. They gave it their heart. I appreciate the work that they all put into this. Without them laying the foundation of this challenge and the supporters/donors building upon that very foundation with their gifts of giving, it would not have been successful. I applaud them for their labor of love for the children,” Francis says.
The group not only met the original $10,000 goal, they nearly doubled it, raising $18,400 from 166 donors during Black History Month.
“These actions spoke much louder than any words to our children that model themselves after us daily. An amazing thing when a people come together in one mind and one accord to accomplish a thing of purpose,” Francis went on to say.
The club director says a special thank you to those out-of-towners who contributed, including another hometown sports hero, Teresa Edwards.
Donations are always accepted to the Boys & Girls Club. Boys & Girls Clubs of America is tax-exempt and partially funded by the federal government. Each local club is responsible for raising its own operating budget. Club members pay a small fee to participate.
To give, make checks payable to Jackie Robinson Boys & Girls Club and mail them to Jackie Robinson Boys & Girls Club, P.O. Box 710, Cairo, GA 39828, or send via cash app at $JRBGC42.
Those who donated include the following with organizers listed in all-caps followed by the names they solicited to give listed in regular type after their name.
STEPHEN FRANCIS: Teresa Edwards, Otis Redding III, Authur Allen, Tina Wiley, Ezekiel Robinson, Michelle Mitchell, Linda Walden, Gina Whigham, Isaiah Chance, Michelle Jackson, Mary Weaver-Anderson, Don Hall, Brittany De-Lugo, Margie Jordan, Annie Jones, Gerald Goosby, Jami Lewis, Brenda Cooper, Richard Boyd, Elaine and Brent Brevard, Kenny Wilder, Mark Bishop, Jessica Devoursney, Offie Wiseman, Andre Marria, Kameshia Edwards, LaFaye Copeland, Tiffany Greene, Eloise Smith, Linda Nixon, Reginald Bryant, Terrell Bryant, Adriana Gonzalez, Andrea Hill, Kim and Robert Buxkemper, Mango Smile Cupcakes & More, Sam King, Arlisha Williams, Micheal Bryant, Courtney Brown, Tracey Brown, Aaron Frazier, Laura and Brad Brevard, Christie Veatch, Stephen McDonnell, Joseph McDonnell, Nicole McDonnell, James Clark Fulton, Heide Bronke, Stephanie and Chad Haferbier, Kellie Obien, Elisa Schlacter, Sharon Smith, Davis Para, Alice Meehan, Kelly and Robert Oakely, Marcie and Russell Gravatt, Becky and Brian McCullough, Albert Ball. PAT MITCHELL: Mount Calvary Missionary Baptist Church, Zina Evans, Melanie Farmer, Cynthia Thomas, LaTonya Parker, Andrea Harris, Angela Nelson, Joyce Willingham, Dana Pope, Theresa Bown, Ursula Amey, Jeff Fortner, Macedonia Baptist Church, Artemus Shepherd, Mt. Olive Baptist Church, Fannie Gilbert, Quanda Ivey, Miracle Ivey, Mr. T’s Barbershop, Grady County Dogs. CYNTHIA COTTON JONES: Emily Gourdine, Nadine Carswell, Lawanda Williams, LaShaunda Williams, Sandra Franklin, Mary Denty, Alonzo Cotton, Sylvia Robinson, Nancy Marsh, Ashley Robinson-Spann, Ann Wooten, Carla Hicks, Gladys Southern, Adrienne Ellison, Sharon Williams, Debra Robinson. SHAUNTA DISMUKE: Jerrell, Gary Moore, Al Farley, Harold Watts, Earl Jefferson, Tenille Ross, Moses Everette, Everette Montgomery, Kevin Jackson, Christopher Henderson, Kenneth Jackson, Step-n-Stones Therapy, Georgia-Florida Vault and Monument. LATRENA PERRY: LaQuan Thomas, Temberly Mitchell, Stephanie White, Chistina Isaac, Catherine Baker, Darrell Harrison, Tenacious Green, St. Thomas Baptist Church, BP Carwash, Louise Davilla, Sanya Baker, Mark Paytee, Brittany Hundley. TERESA GEE-HARDY: Organizing For Grady County, Audrey Magee, Mary Murphy, 2nd Chance Trucking, Judson Gee, Fonta Williams, Johnathan Bell, Natalie Hudson. ANNETTE HIGDON: Ophelia Williams, Timothy Gurley, Parramore Pre-School Academy, Lee Washington, Fresh Start Global Outreach Ministries. CONSTANCE BRIMM-ROBINSON: Cairo DUI School, Tim Cleveland, Camille Little, NeAnn Wooten, Ashley Cloud, Tameshia and John Brimm, Quanda Lester. FERGUS ROBINSON: Tim Simmons, Curtis Powell, Chad Childs, Decaris Leeks, Weston Funeral Home, Robert James, Zerric Clinton, Christopher Mobley. TANGELA CORKER: Angel Touch Daycare, Tiyanna Herring, Nytauja Lamoute, Vivian Smiley, Raquel Carter, Kimberly Kirby, Kynsie Feaster. MARQUITA ROGERS: Theresa Calhoun, Brenda Gordon. LARRY BLACK: DPS Auto Broker LLC., Al’s Community Business, Geraldine Black. CYNTHIA HALL: Jevar McGhee. TORENDA CONNELL. ERIKKA EDWARDS.