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:“Wonderful introduction to the story, with lots of details that show rather than tell.”
Manatee County Winning Entry for the Volunteer Category: Young Life of Manatee County
For Frank and Tina, the story was supposed to be one of retirement, enjoying their granddaughter, skiing at the house in Colorado, and slowing down. For Leon, Quinton, Snoop, and ten of their friends, the story is supposed to be about football, poverty, bad decisions, and being forgotten. But something happened on the way to predictable endings. This summer, these stories collided. A Young Life leader invited a group of football players to Windy Gap, a camp in North Carolina. Frank and Tina were there as adult guests to see how Young Life really works. All was well until the leader ended up in the hospital with a staph infection. He was gone all week. Frank volunteered to help. Frank rode horses with them and played countless games of pool basketball. He went to their cabin and heard them tell their stories. One just lost his father to cancer. One just met his mom because she had been in jail for most of his life. One admitted he only ate one meal a day. Frank and Tina fell in love with these boys. The boys started calling them “Papa Frank” and “Mama T.” The story, however, did not end there. Every Wednesday, Frank picks up ten to twelve boys from practice and takes them back to his home. There, Tina feeds them a home cooked feast. Frank teaches a lesson and the boys continue to share the highs and lows of their week. After Young Life club, at 9 pm, they drive the boys to their homes in Palmetto, East Bradenton, and downtown. One night while driving, Quinton said, “Mama T., I know we don’t really say it, but you’re making a huge difference in our lives. So, thank you.” It made Tina cry. The best stories always do.