Taco Bell and Tristan Thompson support HYC teenagers
On June 19, Heights Youth Club (HYC) seniors and teen leaders Olivia Morgan and Cameron Steele kicked off the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens event, which included special guest Tristan Thompson from the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Thompson spoke to the 150 teens in attendance. He congratulated all of the high school graduates and emphasized the importance of education and graduation. Prizes, including autographed basketballs and a bicycle, were awarded for outstanding achievements. Thompson signed autographs, handed out T-shirts to graduates and took a “selfie” photograph with the teens. Taco Bell provided food and gift certificates to attendees.
“With so many seniors leaving this year, I’m looking for the next group of successful teen leaders in our community to keep the community service going,” said Roscoe Morgan, club director.
The HYC Teen Leadership program earned the event, along with a remodeling of the HYC Teen Room, through its work in the community. The remodeling, which will begin in August, will provide new furniture, flooring and a computer area. The room is scheduled to reopen Monday, Sept. 1.
Fairmount Presbyterian Church has contributed $20,000 toward updating the club's children's computer room, which will also take place in August.
Earlier this year, Taco Bell partnered with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) and pledged $30 million for the next five years to update BGCA facilities that serve teens in communities across the nation. According to BGCA, the partnership “seeks to create a stronger generation of future leaders by providing critical resources that will inspire and enable teens to graduate from high school and unlock opportunities for college and jobs they may have only dreamed possible.”
By 2018, Taco Bell will have provided tools, resources and mentors to nearly all 4,000 Boys and Girls Clubs across the country and anticipates supporting more than 500,000 teens, focusing on high school graduation and success.
“On a local level, this funding helps to ensure all the clubs have the necessary programming and resources needed so that existing and future club members graduate from high school and go on to live successful futures,” said Ron Soeder, president of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Cleveland.
HYC is a nonprofit organization that is partnered with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Cleveland. Donations are welcome and can be sent to HYC, 2065 Lee Road, Cleveland Heights, or made online at www.heightsyouthclub.org.
Louise Khayat is administrator for the Heights Youth Club Board of Directors.