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Boys & Girls Club to host annual Steak ‘n’ Burger with keynote speaker, Mike Smith

The Boys & Girls Club of Elizabethton/Carter County will host its annual Steak ‘n’ Burger on Thursday, Sept. 16, at 6:30 p.m. at Elizabethton High School. The Club is seeking to raise $100,000. As the organization’s largest fundraiser, proceeds from this event are crucial to the Club’s ability to provide the growing number of youth who have a need for its services. The event is presented by Citizens Bank.

This year Mike Smith, former head coach of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, will welcome all guests and share his story. Smith got his start with ETSU as a linebacker from 1977-1981. Smith began his coaching career in 1982 in various assistant capacities with several Division I colleges before moving on to the NFL. He worked his way up the ladder and had various positions in the NFL before becoming the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons in 2008. During his tenure as the head coach of the Falcons, Smith became the franchise’s winningest head coach by number of wins in addition to being the recipient of the 2008 NFL Coach of the Year Award by the Associated Press and was also voted NFL Coach of the Year Award by the Sporting News in 2008, 2010 and 2012. Jim Holmes, Board Member for the Boys & Girls Club said, “I don’t know if we could have found a better representative for our cause. Mike Smith is not only a successful leader in his field, but he truly is an advocate for mentoring and for supporting kids who need us in the community.”

The event, which gets its name from the fact that attendees enjoy burgers alongside Club members who enjoy a special steak dinner, is focused on the kids that it provides for. Club members sit at tables with attendees, speak at the event, and greet you at the door. “This event is intended to show you what the Club is all about, so we want the kids to be the real stars,” Tiffany Judd, Resource Development and Marketing director noted. For Club members, participating in the event means they get to interact with community leaders, practice their table manners, and, for some, even speak on stage, and while Steak ‘n’ Burgers are not new to Boys & Girls Clubs nationally, the event was introduced in Elizabethton in 2016. While $100,000 may seem like a large goal, Judd explains that this is only part of what the Club is charged with raising each year. Judd added, “We have operated on a full day schedule, and we have also kept membership and weekly fees free since we reopened from our two-month COVID-19 closure in June 2020. We wanted to ensure that every child who needed our services had access and the ability to attend the Club.”

The club provides transportation to 11 of the 16 city and county schools, and members walk from Elizabethton High School. During the school year, the organization stays open until 6:30 p.m. during which time they serve an afternoon snack and dinner. Club members also have access to homework help, various mentoring programs, and other healthy activities. During the summer, hours expand from 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Breakfast, lunch, and snack are served. While the format is similar, the Club is able to do a lot more activities with the longer summer hours. Some of these activities include 2-3 weekly field trips. Judd explained, “It’s so important for us to help our kids fill their time with productive choices. We want to help them visit colleges, make fun summer memories, learn life lessons, and just generally enjoy being a kid.” These activities would not be possible, she explained, without the support of the community. “Steak ‘n’ Burger and the community as a whole is the only reason we are able to be here for these kids. Without a successful event, without the generosity of everyday citizens, there is no way we could do our work.”

If you would like to support the Steak ‘n’ Burger, sponsorships are available. For more information, contact Tiffany Judd, Director of Resource Development and Marketing, at (423) 543-2946 or online at www.bgcecc.org/steaknburger.