Project SOS, now a Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida program, surpassed its $200,000 fundraising goal at the New Orleans-themed Grand Anchor Gala held at the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club on Feb. 24.
The annual fundraiser celebrated 25 years of serving First Coast teens and raised money for Project SOS programs and new Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida facilities designed to assist the community. The two organizations merged in the summer of 2017.
Guests at the event enjoyed a three-course meal, a live and silent auction, dancing, speeches and more. After the live auction, Project SOS founder Pam Mullarkey Robbins delivered a speech on the importance of protecting and investing in youth. She ultimately said charitable organizations such as Project SOS are fighting to keep young people away from drugs by helping them deal with stress, anxiety and temptation.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida President and CEO Paul Martinez also spoke about ending the cycle of teen violence and gang-related activity through prevention rather than new law enforcement programs. He said his organization plans to open four to six state-of-the-art teen centers in the toughest parts of Northeast Florida to help alleviate the problem
The event ended with entertainment from the Chris Thomas Band and the Monarch Dancers, followed by closing remarks from Ben Weurffel, Project SOS’ chairman of the board of directors.