Olympic gold medalist to headline Boys & Girls Club ‘Great Futures Dinner’

Published 11:04 am Friday, June 14, 2024

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This year, the Boys & Girls Club of Elizabethton/Carter County (BGCECC) is excited to announce that Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Olympic legend and philanthropist, will be the keynote speaker for the Club’s biggest event of the year, the Great Futures Dinner.

The dinner will be held on Thursday, Aug. 29, at the Tennessee Center for Applied Technology (TCAT), 426 Hwy. 91 in Elizabethton.

BGCECC CEO Shelly Parham says she is excited to have Kersee as this year’s speaker, and looks at this event as a way to inspire not only the young people who attend the Club but the community as a whole.

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“The timing couldn’t be more perfect having Jackie with us this year,” Parham said. “We decided our summer theme this year would be the Olympics, because we want kids to see the value of our summer Olympics. We want them to know and feel how proud of America we are during this time, while they are also learning about the dedicated athletes who are competing. Having Jackie Joyner-Kersee, one of the greatest female Olympian athletes of all time, as our keynote speaker for this year’s Great Futures Dinner will be such a highlight to close out our summer.

“Jackie is a former Club kid who knows first hand the struggles and triumphs kids have every day,” Parham added. “She also knows how very important the Boys & Girls Club is to our community!”

A six-time Olympic medalist, Joyner-Kersee has earned three Olympic gold medals, one silver and two bronze. Throughout her career and over four Olympic Games, she dominated the Olympic heptathlon and long jump events. Her world heptathlon record set at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea, still stands today.  

Joyner-Kersee, who was named the “Greatest Female Athlete of the 20th Century,” by Sports Illustrated for Women, continually works to expand the opportunities for learning and achievements in science, technology, biology, agriculture and geospatial information systems.  Her work makes it possible for people of all ages to gain access to education, sports, culture, and lifelong learning.  

Joyner-Kersee, who grew up in East St. Louis, was also a Boys & Girls Club kid. She has made significant contributions throughout her life as a philanthropist and a tireless advocate for children’s education, health issues, racial equality, social reform and women’s rights.

In 1988, she established the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation which raised over $12 million to build the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Center, a 41,000 square-foot facility with a 1,200-seat gymnasium on a 37-acre site. The center fulfills the largely unmet need for youth recreation and a sports venue in East St. Louis.

In 2007, Joyner-Kersee, along with Andre Agassi, Muhammad Ali, Lance Armstrong, Warrick Dunn, Mia Hamm, Jeff Gordon, Tony Hawk, Andrea Jaeger, Mario Lemieux, Alonzo Mourning, and Cal Ripken Jr. founded Athletes for Hope, a charitable organization that helps professional athletes get involved in charitable causes and inspires millions of non-athletes to volunteer and support the community.

Tickets for the BGECC Great Futures Dinner featuring Jackie Joyner-Kersee are now on sale. For more information, please go to bgcecc.org