Six nonprofit agencies serving Sarasota or Manatee County received $500 grants for their winning stories at the Nonprofit Resource Center's annual "You're the Story" celebration on December 7, 2010. The Sarasota Y, Jazz Juvenocracy, Bethesda House, Police Athletic League of Manatee County, Family Partnership Center and Young Life of Manatee County were recognized in front of a crowd of over 200. The grants were awarded by the Manatee Community Foundation and the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. The celebration event was filmed and can be viewed on METV.
Story judge Kivi Leroux Miller, author of the Nonprofit Marketing Guide said:“A classic against-all-odds story with great highs and lows.”
Manatee County Winning Entry in the Donor Category: Police Athletic League of Manatee County
Boxing brings many different connotations to each individual. Some look at it with eyes that see violence. Others see it as a great sport, taking skill, discipline and training. For Erik Flores, a 16 year old Bradenton resident, it is a lifeline. Erik was a young man who might have had a future in gangs and drugs, had it not been for the Knocking Out Negativity Program, at the Police Athletic League of Manatee County. Erik became engaged with two-time World Heavyweight Champion, China Smith and boxing coaches, Tommy Keelen and Dora Webber at the program, and put in many hours of hard work with an eye on becoming a champion like his mentors. Just a few weeks before Erik was to go to the State PAL Boxing Championship bout in Fort Myers, all of his boxing equipment was stolen in a home burglary. The son of a single mother, Erik did not have the means to replace his equipment, and his future looked uncertain. Then, a miracle happened. As he helped his peers with a car wash to raise funds for the trip he might not be able to attend, an angel came by to have her car washed on her way to work at Bealls. Her name was Carol Jenson. Waiting for her car, she came into the PAL offices, where she learned more about Erik’s plight and immediately gave a contribution to help purchase the equipment he needed. Thanks to the generosity of someone who didn’t even know Erik until that day, this Southeast High School student won the PAL Boxing 125 pound Jr Weight Division competition and became a champion for the first time in his life. Carol now sends additional gifts for Erik & keeps up with his progress!