Monday night, the Racquet Club of Memphis hosted the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Memphis’ annual celebration, the Steak-N-Burger dinner.
In its 40th year, the dinner has a long standing reputation of bringing in key-note speakers to address the donors and kids in attendance for the ceremony.
This year’s speaker, head football coach at the University of Alabama, Nick Saban.
“What do you believe you can achieve?” said Coach Saban.
The two-time National Coach of the Year spoke to some 800 people gathered at tables where there were eight seats, and two of those were to be occupied by current Boys and Girls Clubs members, and the additional chairs were to seat donors.
“It’s a celebration for kids and what’s neat is we treat the kids like royalty, the adults eat burgers while the kids eat steaks,” said Vinny Borello, President/CEO Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Memphis, “Too many times we see people write a check and they never see where it goes.”
Borello says the idea of the evening is to intermingle donors with kids so they know where there donations go and how they can help the kids.
“We want to show people it’s not about can we afford to invest, but can we afford not to invest?” adds Borello.
For $200 a ticket, donors were able to come and enjoy appetizers and wine in the VIP ballroom while they awaited the arrival of Coach Saban.
Hundreds of Crimson Tide fans lined up for a chance to meet the coach who won them the 2010 National Championship.
In the spirit of the night, Coach Saban signed autographs, posed for pictures, and spoke with everyone from children to adults.
And although the it looked like the power went off during the middle of his speech as the lights went out above him, he moved to the front of the stage and gave a speech full of historic references and stories of inspiration in his life and ones he shares with his players at Alabama.
“This organization works and stives to give young people an opportunity,” said Saban, “You need to spend time to engage with people to make it about them.”
The Youth of the Year Award went to Shannon Wright, who currently holds a 3.5 GPA at Kingsbury High School and dreams to one day become a veterinarian.
“I learned how to not become a statistic, but to become a success,” Wright said on what the Boys and Girls Club taught her.
And perhaps Coach Saban summed the night up when discussing not only the Boys and Girls Clubs, but about all organizations that help youth including his own, Nick’s Kids.
“No man stands as tall than when he stoops to help a child.”
Brennan Somers is a general assignment reporter for MemphiSport, you can follow him on Twitter @brennansomers.
Story photos by Brennan Somers