Boys & Girls Club of South Alabama honors employees, volunteers, and community activists at annual awards and board recognition luncheon

Boys & Girls Club of South Alabama honored employees, volunteers, community activists, and supporters for their immeasurable contributions at its Annual Board Meeting on Thursday, October 19, at Heron Lakes Country Club.

Board Luncheon

New Board Member of the Year

Board Member Ronnie Stallworth received New Board Member of the Year honors for his involvement at Club functions and meetings. He has signified his deep care for the Club’s success and the kids we serve and puts worth in our organization. Whether responding to a need with only minutes to spare, stepping alongside our staff to do the heavy lifting, offering valuable input and expertise to board matters, or just simply putting a smile on everyone’s face,

there’s no doubt that Ronnie Stallworth Sr., with Hargrove Engineer and Constructors, is on Team


2023 Board Member of the Year


Angela Dunn, serving on our Board for 14 years, our 2023 board Member of the Year is the

definition of commitment and dedication. She cares deeply for this organization and will never give up on advocating for our youth. Even when times get tough, Dunn stands steady and supports the Clubs. She is loyal to the organization above and beyond what is required. With Hancock Whitney, Angela Dunn is continually bringing solutions to the table for the movement’s good.

Board Members – Years of Service Recognition

With our dedicated Board of Directors, we can carry out our mission to serve the community. We would like to recognize the following Board members for their years of service to the organization – please hold your applause until all have been identified. Please come forward to receive your service pin and certificate.

  • Five Years-Ben Harris, Jones Walker LLP; Felecia Hosey, SSAB Alabama; Craig Savage, Airbus; Catherine Spann, Burr & Forman LLP
  • Ten Years – Tom Bates, Retired, Evonik Industries



2023 Program Volunteer of the Year


Elijah Scott is the 2023 Program Volunteer of the Year. A volunteer for almost three years, this recipient is an outstanding example to our children, providing mentorship, cheering on our Club kids, and jumping in to help staff in any capacity needed. He accompanies the kids on

their daily bus rides to the Club, showing genuine concern for the well-being of every child, and is the first to volunteer assistance at the Club when help is needed. He has given up precious summer days to chaperone Club field trips, ensuring the kids don’t miss out on those opportunities. The Foley Boys & Girls Club would be lost without the invaluable presence of volunteer Elijah Scott.

Owen B. Gaston Part-Time Employee of the Year


Christopher Joiner, worked for us for seven and a half years, first as a Program Assistant and now on our Operations team. A total package of team player mentality and dependability, he does not run from hard work and is a key piece of our facilities maintenance team. Although he is already very knowledgeable in his field, he will figure it out by researching a solution, saving us thousands of dollars in maintenance costs if he can’t do something. In the non-profit world, you can’t put a price on his level of knowledge and ability. He may only be visible to some of our staff occasionally. Still, behind the scenes, he is keeping our locations up and running and supervising our Club kids in the Job Ready program, guiding and teaching them as they gain valuable experience in the workforce. We proudly recognize Chris Joiner as our part-time Employee of the Year.

BGCSA Full-Time Employees of the Year


Inger Anderson– Full-time Employee Award recipient first joined the BGCSA family as a volunteer and has never left. Her knowledge and belief in the Boys & Girls Club movement, coupled with heartfelt compassion for and understanding of kids, have helped strengthen and sustain the organization through the years. What would we have done over the last 39 years without her dedication?

Professional of the Year for the State of Alabama


Greg Hall – Camp Chandler-Tonsmeire Branch Director was awarded Professional of the Year for the State of Alabama, announced in August at the Alabama-Mississippi- Louisiana Tri-State Alliance conference. Greg handles Camp Tonsmeire with care, hard work, dedication, and a passion for the outdoors. His interaction with the youth is funny yet endearing, disciplined yet exciting. Every year, hundreds of kids come out and have a great time because of Greg. He is also the sole groundskeeper during the off-season and is always willing to help at our other Clubs when needed. Congratulations, Greg!

POINTE Full-Time Employee of the Year

Jenny Newberry – Faculty, staff, and students at POINTE Academy have been very fortunate to have this recipient on their team for the last nine years, the first three being at Strickland Youth Center. She has worked as a teacher, Transition Specialist, and curriculum administrator, showing a sincere interest in her students as individuals and constantly seeking ways to keep her lessons exciting and informative. Well-respected and liked by students, peers, and administrators, this recipient is a very kind, dedicated, and loyal employee with excellent rapport with her students. She is a hard-working individual who takes initiative to get things done and frequently volunteers to provide assistance in all needed areas for the successful operation of the school. Our POINTE Academy full-time Employee of the Year is Ms. Jenny Newberry.

Strickland Youth Center Employee of the Year


Paula Estes – “Hard-working and dedicated” are words also used to describe this five-year staff member at our Strickland Youth Center campus. She exemplifies fairness, devotion, caring, and, most of all, dedication to understanding our students’ struggles in their everyday lives. Ensuring that each student is registered for school and given the necessary skills needed to succeed in class, she does all she can to help the students while exhibiting grace and carrying out her duties as an administrator. As one of her staff members shared, “She is proud of the success of our education department at the youth center, but what she does not realize is that it is because of her

leadership and her representation of us that allows us to be so successful, and to appreciate her

even more.”

Years of Service Recognition – Staff

The following staff members for their years of service to the organization:


5 years of service:

  • Paulette Anderson, Kiwanis Club Membership Clerk
  • Paula Estes, Strickland Youth Center Associate Program Director
  • Greg Hall, Camp Chandler Tonsmeire Branch Director
  • Lee Jackson, Strickland Youth Center Transition Specialist
  • Leon Poellnitz, Optimist & Kiwanis Club Program Assistant
  • Yolanda Stanton, Sonny Callahan Tutor Coordinator (unable to attend)
  • Sandra Wiley – POINTE Academy Teacher


15 years of service:

  • Patricia Dumas, POINTE Academy Teacher
  • Nonnie Parker, Optimist Club Program Assistant, Harmon Thomas Site Supervisor
  • Annie Pettaway, Strickland Youth Center Teacher

25 years of service:

  • Jemina Johnson-Williams, Bernard Malkove Club Branch Director

2023 Appreciation Awards


The following five awardees were recognized for their involvement and important contributions to supporting Boys & Girls Clubs over the last year:

  • Aldi –This business has partnered with our Foley Club in various ways, such as donating backpacks, school supplies, and care packages to our families and, most recently, sending volunteers to come and help paint our Club, which has been in dire need of a paint job. Thank you to Aldi and Jason Schultz from the Foley store..
  • Richard Brackner – In his seven months with us, this recipient has shown a heart for building the character and behaviors of our youth. He expects them to “be more” and can interact with the kids on their level, building them up. He indeed rose to the challenge during some staffing issues in the spring, and we are thankful for Foley Club Program Assistant Richard Brackner.
  • Ham McGuire – Now a BGCSA Emeritus Board Member, this recipient continues to advocate for our youth every chance he gets. He has served as Co-Chair of the Mayors Cup Golf Tournament for the past five years, using his skills and persuasive “charm” to solicit teams and beverage sponsors and personally generously donating hundreds of dollars in door prizes, thus helping to increase the Tournament’s proceeds year

after year. Thank you to Ham McGuire, McGuire Oil Company.

  • Kim Pendley – Having a solid handle on an organization’s finances and helping staff and board members understand them is critical to its success. Our Board Treasurer is always willing to listen and assures that all questions and concerns are important. With an always cheerful disposition, she is extremely helpful in providing information and clarification whenever requested by staff or board members. We appreciate Kim Pendley, Avizo Group, for her excellent services.
  • Paul’s Episcopal Church – Foley From providing the use of their church and kitchen for the Foley Club’s first annual pancake breakfast to helping us sell tickets and providing volunteers to cook the breakfast, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Foley has quickly become a valuable community partner. Thank you, Pastor Brent Norris,

for staying in contact with our Club and for your congregation always

offering their support and services when possible.

The Helping Hands Award is presented to individuals or organizations who have shown enduring dedication and stewardship to making a positive difference in the lives of our Club members and our entire organization.

  • Kim Collins – Chief Talent Officer: Our first recipient has helped to bring her department into the 21st century through her gifts of organization, mediation, and professionalism. She is determined to see that the human relations aspect of BGCSA reflects accountability, honesty, integrity, and, utmost of all, concern for each employee’s welfare. We are fortunate to have Kim Collins as our Chief Talent Officer.
  • Melissa Dallke: A “Jack of all Trades,” this recipient has been running the front desk for the Foley Club for the past year. She is an incredible example to the Club’s children and keeps everyone on track. She tackles duties from cleaning and ordering supplies to member registration, ensuring everything at the Club runs smoothly. She surprised us during our jam-packed summer when we did not know she could do more – but Melissa Dallke, Foley Club Membership Clerk, never fails to impress.
  • Floral Parade Committee – (Judi Gulledge, Bragg Van Antwerp) A Helping Hands Award goes to an organization that, for over 25 years, has provided a complimentary float to the Boys & Girls Clubs of South Alabama, thus providing our Members with an opportunity to ride on both days that the Floral Parade rolls. In addition to waiving the cost of float sponsorship, this generous group donates 40 bags of candy for our Members to throw during the parades. We thank and recognize the Floral Parade Committee for providing hundreds of our kids with a most memorable and fun experience.
  • Karen Lakeman – This recipient ensures we have everything we need to do our jobs and will find an answer to any questions. Even when things are overwhelming, she maintains her sunny disposition and takes the time to help in any way possible. This is a gift, and not all people can do that, especially without losing their patience. In addition to ensuring that we are paid correctly and on time, she processes all new hires and terminations, orders supplies, and helps to answer the phone. She takes care of all preparations for board and committee meetings, records and transcribes meeting minutes, sends out correspondence and notices and assists with the logistics of this annual meeting. Thank you to Karen Lakeman, Office Manager, and HR Generalist



  • Sharon Murrill – Both as an individual and as the Community Relations Manager for Alabama Power, our next Helping Hands recipient has, on many occasions, assisted BGCSA in carrying out its Mission. Sharon Murrill has served as a Youth of the Year Judge, notified us of available grant opportunities, and advocated for our kids as a leader in the Semmes and Saraland Chambers of Commerce. We thank Sharon for always “looking out” for BGCSA.
  • Planet Fitness (Sara Stroups) – We are fortunate to have several active national corporate sponsors whose franchised locations support BGCSA locally. This Helping Hands awardee has for several years provided college scholarships, allowed our teens to work out for free during the summer break, and held several successful, unique fundraisers at its four local locations. The enthusiasm and dedication shown by Planet Fitness, both on the corporate and local level, is greatly appreciated by BGCSA.
  • Starbucks (Lana Dorroh) – For their commitment to being a long-time partner and advocate for our youth, we present an award to Starbucks. Locally, they have facilitated customer service classes for teens during our Ignite Summer Leadership Program for the past five years, teaching valuable customer service skills and providing grant opportunities. Most recently, they partnered with Target and Feeding the Gulf Coast to sponsor a Back-to-School celebration for our youth, giving away 600 book bags and providing 300 boxes of food to families.
  • The First Bank (Chandra Motley, Rhonda Bennett) The following recipient, The First Bank, is dedicated to serving our youth, including being a Youth of the Year Table Sponsor and Golf Team Sponsor. Two of its employees have volunteered in several capacities. Ira Bates and Chandra Motley have served as Youth of the Year Judges, financial literacy mentors, and Club instructors. Chandra has also participated in our Advocates for Girls Conference.
  • Oliver Washington – If you have ever attended a Youth of the Year Luncheon, you will have noticed the beautiful flowers adorning the tables. One of our area’s most notable horticulturists, Mr. Oliver Washington, IV, donated these flowers. This generosity and love of community has been a hallmark of the family business, Shore Acres Plant Farm, since its beginnings in 1945. Thank you for your years of generosity to the community and for helping to make our Youth of the Year Luncheon a beautiful event!


  • Christopher Williams – We will all agree that a key component is dependable volunteers when planning and carrying out a big fundraiser. For over ten years, the Annual Mayors’ Cup Golf Tournament has been blessed with a very large group of volunteers from Southeast Toyota Finance, led by Chris Williams. Chris is constantly inquiring about the needs of our Clubs and kids, and then working tirelessly to see that those needs are met. For his leadership and devotion to BGCSA, we are pleased to honor Chris with a Helping Hands Award.
  • Sherri Mims – Our next recipient always goes above and beyond in carrying out her responsibilities, and that is because she truly cares for the well-being and safety of staff and kids. Whether it is climbing on a Club rooftop in 100-degree heat to coax a little more life into an aging air conditioning unit, mopping up the aftermath of a flooded toilet, making dozens of phone calls to vendors to find the best prices, or investigating and reporting a safety incident, as Chief Safety Officer for BGCSA, Sherri Mims does it all with attention to detail, and with her wonderful dry sense of humor.


  • Alycia Young – An employee with outstanding skills, knowledge, and experience, this recipient also brings an engaging personality and ability to connect with people to her position. During her three years with BGCSA, she has developed numerous new business prospects for the organization. She has worked diligently and creatively to expand our Cause Marketing programs, resulting in ever-increasing monetary results. A real team player, our Donor Relations Manager, Alycia Young, is always willing to lend a helping hand wherever needed.

The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes the achievement of an alumnus who is impacting the community and represents the values of Boys & Girls Clubs.

  • Tiffany Pogue, the 2023 Distinguished Alumni, is a passionate youth advocate, mentor, community organizer, leader, artist, poet, and perhaps the loudest voice for our Club kids. She is making an impact in communities throughout Mobile County with her

involvement in the Africatown Clotilda Descendants Association, Stand Up Mobile, University of South Alabama Multicultural Program, Spoken Word of Mobile, local arts organization, and most of all, Boys & Girls Clubs of South Alabama. She has almost single-handedly created opportunities and events where young people can publicly share their ideas and talents, most notably our Advocates for Girls Empowerment Conference. Having never relinquished her Club membership, Tiffany Pogue is a well-deserving candidate for the Distinguished Alumni Award, representing the true spirit of a Club kid and holding to the mission and vision of Boys & Girls Clubs of South Alabama.


Man & Youth Award recognizes individuals for enduring commitment and generous

contributions to the young people of Boys & Girls Clubs.  This year, we gratefully recognize two individuals:

  • William Burks, recipient of the Man & Youth Award is perhaps best known throughout the community and BGCSA for not only his poise, confidence and quiet demeanor, but also for his love of God, family, and community. His unwavering belief in the potential of every young person he meets is exemplified by his lifelong, diligent and purposeful work on their behalf.  He has most recently experienced one of the hardest moments which a Branch Director must face… the closing of a Club through circumstances beyond his, or BGCSA’s, control.  Yet, he and his Staff planned a joyous, memorable reunion of former Optimist Club kids, staff, supporters and community partners before closing.  Now providing oversight to BGCSA’s Kiwanis Branch and Harmon-Thomas Club site, William Burks continues to influence and change young people’s lives.   He also received a Proclamation from the City of Mobile
  • Bruce Coldsmith, recipient of Man & Youth Award winner this year is a true believer in the mission and purpose of BGCSA. As a Board Member, he is known for his thoughtful questions and input at Board meetings, reflective of his extensive experience as a retired financial planner, and also as a father, grandfather and former coach!  He is also serving as Chair of the Board Sub-committee on Endowment. Thank you, Bruce Coldsmith, for always sharing with others your belief in the potential and positive impact of our Clubs.

Woman & Youth Award recognizes an individual for enduring commitment and generous contributions to the young people of Boys & Girls Clubs. 

  • Sandra Hawkins is the first recipient of a Woman & Youth Award was specifically mentioned by two of our 2022 Youth of the Year at last year’s annual Youth of the Year Luncheon as having had a lasting influence on their lives. She has spent most of her career making a difference in the lives of children and families, having previously taught generations of kids as a teacher in local public schools. A constant during staff turnover through the years, she keeps things running smoothly. She cares deeply for the safety and well-being of our Club kids and handles her duties as Membership Clerk efficiently and professionally. All feel her compassion, wisdom, concern, and kindness. Even though she has “retired” at least three times from her position with the Sonny Callahan Club, Sandra Hawkins remains a valuable staff member after 19 years and was also recently recognized as Part-Time Professional of the Year at the 2022 Boys & Girls Clubs State of Alabama All Staff Conference, and the 2022 Part-Time Employee of the Year with BGCSA.
  • Catherine Spann is a busy attorney, wife, mother, and community leader. The next Woman & Youth Award recipient is deeply appreciated for her role as a BGCSA Board Member. She is especially admired for having headed the Human Resources and Safety Committee during BGCSA’s leadership transition and when it seems almost all the Clubs experienced the demise of HVAC systems. She maintained a positive and constructive mindset, influencing others to do the same. Thank you, Catherine Spann, for working tirelessly and with a sense of urgency to make things right. You are a great example of leadership!

Champion of Youth Award is awarded to an individuals or organizations  who has shown unwavering support of the young people of Boys & Girls Clubs who are on a pathway to a Great Future.  We have two awards this year:

  • Amelia Bacon – There is a belief among our staff and Board Members that even if your cell phone is turned off, this Champion of Youth’s phone call is somehow going to get through, so intense and passionate is her love and dedication to the Boys & Girls Clubs of South Alabama. She has worked tirelessly, diligently, and consistently in promoting the mission of BGCSA for the past 17 years. Whether Amelia Bacon is conducting Club tours, assisting with special events, calling donors, or wrangling in-kind donations from local merchants, this former BGCSA Board Chair and immediate Past President of the Alabama Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs never gives up!
  • Olivier Charles – As the newest President of Bishop State Community College, this Champion of Youth can connect with young people on all levels. This was evident when he served as Keynote Speaker for the 2023 Youth of the Year Luncheon. President Olivier Charles is facilitating a solid partnership between BGCSA and Bishop State, which will impact generations. For this, we recognize and thank him!
  • Mobile Arts Council (Lucy Gafford, Kathleen Kirk Stoves) For almost a decade, the premier arts organization in Mobile County has offered a diverse range of artistic and cultural experiences to Club members through its “ChARTing New Directions” programs. These programs reflect the organization’s mission, which is to cultivate creativity in youth through arts education by developing artistic skills, thereby boosting confident self-expression. Participants can interact with local, gifted artists and performers who serve as instructors on-site at the Clubs. Notably, during COVID, the organization put together a virtual arts program for all the Club sites during the summer. Their most recent endeavor is an expansive effort to fill the gap in local public schools’ arts programming by providing grant funding, instructors, and supplies. The Mobile Arts Council, led by Ms. Lucy Gafford, is a Champion of Youth!
  • Panda Express (Melvin Boykin, Sherrie Reed) As a national partner of Boys & Girls Clubs throughout the nation, Panda Express has displayed consistent and increasing support of young people, providing over $100,000 in grants for Academic Programs and $75,000 to create a “Center of Hope” learning center at our Kiwanis Branch. This generosity is exemplified by all three local Panda Express Managers and their employees, who are huge fans of BGCSA and have supported our Clubs by donating their time, meals, school supplies, and book bags. They are true Champions of Youth.

B.R. Wilson Leadership Award- The BR Wilson award is named for one of our founders and first chairman.  The highest award we give to an individual. 


  • Todd Denison – The recipient of this year’s B.R. Wilson Award has served on the Board of Directors since 2011 in several capacities, most recently as Chair of the Board from 2020-2022. As Chair, he faced two especially challenging situations for the organization – continuing services to our kids through the COVID pandemic and helping lead the selection of our current CEO. He has personally persuaded several major donors and foundations to support BGCSA. A partner with the law firm of Phelps, Dunbar, Todd Denison has served in local and statewide leadership positions in numerous legal organizations and civic organizations. As a long-time member and most recently as President of the local Lions Club, Todd helped to strengthen and expand the Lions Club’s free eye-screening program for our kids. As Todd “retires” from the acting board and moves to Emeritus, we also recognize and thank him for his military service to our country.