Hometown Hero Helping At-Risk Youth Achieve Their Dreams Broker's Efforts Benefit Boys & Girls Clubs
As a mother of five, Marnie Allen knows children need a safe place in which to learn and grow. For the past six years, she’s dedicated her free time to volunteering for the NFL YET (Youth Education Town) Center/Lester H. White Unit of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward County. In her role as an advisory board member and current president of that unit of the Boys & Girls Clubs, she’s helped raise funds, plan holiday parties for the children (who range in age from 7 to 17) and acquire donations to benefit the Club.
“It’s the least I can do,” says Allen, broker for RE/MAX Alliance in Fort Lauderdale. “Real estate professionals are in the business of ‘creating’ homes. Being a mother and a broker, I think it’s important that we nurture the youth of today. It’s tough to be a kid now, especially with all the pressures of peers, drugs, gangs and broken homes.”
Allen explains that the Lester H. White Unit of the Boys & Girls Club, which was built with funds from the NFL YET, is like an oasis for the more than 1,000 kids who are members. “I’m just trying to help enhance their quality of life,” she says. “We provide educational tutoring services, gymnasiums and after-school activities for children who are often from single-parent families. It not only helps the area but also helps the children. It’s just amazing to see.
“Basically, my job on the board and as president is to coordinate [our events] and keep the relationship with the NFL going,” she adds.
Each fall Allen spends countless hours helping to plan the Signature Grand Ghoul, an annual fundraising gala presented by UNICCO Integrated Facilities Services Co. that raises money for the Boys & Girls Club.
What started out as a fundraising party with about 200 guests has grown to a big-time event held at the Signature Grand, a Pembroke Pines mansion that has become a popular setting for weddings, graduation parties and other celebrations. In recent years, more than 1,000 revelers, many of whom come decked-out in spectacular costumes, have attended.
Guests pay $100 for admission, which includes a gourmet buffet and unlimited cocktails, as well as the opportunity to meet their favorite Dolphin players. Previous Dolphins attendees have included Sam Madison, Zach Thomas, Jay Fiedler, Patrick Surtain, Shawn Wooden, Ricky Williams, Jason Taylor, Olindo Mare, Junior Seau and Randy McMichael.
There is also a silent auction, where guests can bid on everything from sports memorabilia to exotic travel packages.
Last year’s event, held on Oct. 30, was hosted by former Dolphin great and sports radio personality O. J. McDuffie. Organizers say the event netted a record $110,000 for the Boy’s & Girl’s Club of Broward County and McDuffie’s Catch 81 Foundation for local children. Want to Contribute?
Contact the Lester H. White Unit of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward at (954) 585-6351. Or, to find a Boys & Girls Club near you, visit www.bgcbc.org