LAKE JACKSON — Football Hall of Famer Warren Moon has made more of a positive influence in the local community than he might know, but he had a chance to learn about it at the Boys and Girls Club of Brazoria County’s Great Futures Gala.
Amber Newman, CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of Brazoria County, felt like his appearance at the gala at Dow Academic Center at Brazosport College Saturday evening was “full circle” for her.
Newman’s mother Sandra Bell worked for the Crescent Moon Foundation that the former Houston Oilers quarterback established in 1989. As a single mother, Bell often brought Newman along to fundraisers and work when the now-CEO was a child, Newman said.
This is partly what inspired Newman to pursue a career in nonprofit organizations, which has resulted in the Boys and Girls Club being in the best shape it has been in many years, officials said at the event.
Moon first experienced a boys club as a child, he said. His father died when he was 7, so he lived with his mother and six sisters, Moon said.
“I really believe in it and I know it works because I’m a product of it,” Moon said.
Sports and these types of organizations kept Moon away from gangs, violence, drugs and alcohol issues that affected his peers, he said.
“I lived in a very tough section of Los Angeles,” Moon said.
Moon’s mother kept him on the “straight and narrow” which led him to his numerous opportunities and accomplishments. He wanted to give back and funded his nonprofit around providing educational opportunities, Moon said.
“I think if you have an education behind you, you always have a chance to be successful at something,” he said.
Crescent Moon Foundation continues to give scholarships up to $5,000 annually.
Moon believes all adults should take a role in raising and encouraging children of their community, he said. If a child might be in crisis, he advised the attendees to show them they care, because often the child only needs to have hope.
He thanked the attendees for their financial contributions, which totalled about $50,000 Saturday, Newman said.
“It takes a village to keep something like the Boys and Girls Club operating,” Moon said.
The organization used a special award to thank part of that village Saturday. Brazosport ISD was recognized for the nearly 50-year partnership with the Boys and Girls Club.
The organization provides a critical service to the families of Brazosport ISD, Superintendent Danny Massey said.
Many students live in single-parent households or both parents work, so finding out that the Boys and Girls Club is a low-cost, on-campus after-school care makes those parents very happy, he said.
“You should see the relief on their face,” Massey said.
Kimberly Reynolds is one of the parents who needed that service, she said. Her son is a student at Velasco Elementary who was slipping behind in school, Reynolds said.
That was because his sister has cerebral palsy along with other disabilities and Reynolds would often have to pull her son out of school to get to all of the appointments, she said. When Brazosport ISD and Boys and Girls Club staff informed her that her son could have after-school care for free, it made a huge difference for their family, she said.
“The program itself and its employees are a blessing,” Reynolds said.
The organization recognized employee Veronica Lavigne with its 2020 Club Impact Award. She was selected by a committee of employees, Newman said, and is always willing to help.
“I love working here, this is so fun,” Lavigne said.
Employees never know what kids are going through, but they are able to provide them with an hours-long window after school when they don’t have to worry about whatever that is, she said.