Albany Boys & Girls Clubs hosts Steak and Burgers Dinner

Olympic Gymnast Dominique Dawes was a speaker at Tuesday's event.
Published: Mar. 28, 2023 at 7:16 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Boys and girls in Albany had a rare opportunity on Tuesday, they got to interact with an Olympic gymnast! The club’s annual Steak and Burgers event aims to help the community’s youth.

Every day, children all across southwest Georgia gather in buildings like the Boys & Girls Club to change their lives for the better.

“The Boys & Girls Club helped me gain my confidence and to realize that I can be who I am right now, today,” Jaden Haywood, a 9th grader, said.

“If I wasn’t at the Boys & Girls Clubs, I would be cooped up in my shell, not being here, not following my dreams, doing other stuff other than what I need to,” Danquavionne Sheffield, a high school senior, said.

(From left to right) Danquavionne Sheffield, Jaden Haywood and Nylia Thompson are all high...
(From left to right) Danquavionne Sheffield, Jaden Haywood and Nylia Thompson are all high schoolers involved in the Boys & Girls Clubs.(WALB)

Part of the club’s mission is to inspire youth through programs and guest speakers. Olympic gymnast Dominique Dawes wanted to do her part to encourage kids in Albany. She is a 3-time Olympian and went on to become the first African-American to win an individual medal in Olympic gymnastics.

“Each and every one of them are special,” Dawes said. “They have an ability to change lives. They have an ability to do something positive in this world around us. And I want to make sure that I’m encouraging them to do so.”

Dominique Dawes back in the 1990s at gymnastics practice.
Dominique Dawes back in the 1990s at gymnastics practice.(WALB)

Every year, the Boys and Girls Club chooses a winner of the “Youth of the Year” award and scholarship finalists from members who go above and beyond.

“Tonight, we’ll announce our youth of the year who will be our ambassador for the next year,” Albany Boys and Girls Club CEO Tim Wofford said. “So, we’re excited about that. And that’s really what this day is all about; recognizing our young people and all the great things that they’re doing. Sometimes we don’t celebrate them enough. And this is an opportunity to recognize those great things.”

“It’s a highlight to be involved,” Dawes said. “Just knowing that we’re planting positive seeds for kids to grow up to be leaders in our community. And to be positive role models.”

Wofford says one of his goals for this year is to reach even more children, as they’re still trying to get people to come back out after the COVID-19 pandemic.