By Adam Ganucheau
TUPELO – The Boys and Girls Clubs of North Mississippi hosted the national organization’s top executive Monday, who presented a national donor award to a Northeast Mississippi man.
Boys and Girls Club President and CEO Jim Clark traveled from the organization’s headquarters in Atlanta to the Haven Acres Boys and Girls Club in Tupelo to recognize the club and present the Jeremiah Milbank Award to Claiborne Barksdale of Oxford for his significant donations to the organization.
“It’s an honor to be in Tupelo and to honor someone that has made such a significant impact on the Boys and Girls Clubs of North Mississippi,” Clark said. “It’s so exciting to see the work that has been accomplished here in Tupelo firsthand.”
Barksdale, whom Boys and Girls Club officials say has donated much money and time to the club, received a plaque for his contributions.
“I am extremely honored to receive this award,” he said. “The club does such important work for the community of Tupelo and all of North Mississippi.”
Partners, sponsors and donors of the organization attended the event to offer their gratitude to Clark and Barksdale. The Boys and Girls Club in Oxford is named in honor of the Barksdale family.
“This is an organization whose sole purpose is to make a positive difference in the lives of our young people,” said Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton, who presented Clark with a key to the city. “People donate so much time and energy to provide educational and life skills to these kids. It is such a valuable asset to our community.”
Staff members organized a Southern-themed reception for attendees to partake in, and members of the Boys and Girls Club performed a ballroom dance routine that they have been practicing for a competition.
“Being in the Boys and Girls Club is a fun experience,” member Avram McGaha said. “We get to learn a lot of skills that help us out in everyday life.”
In addition to the Haven Acres and Northside clubs in Tupelo and the Oxford club, the Boys and Girls Club of North Mississippi includes clubs in New Albany, Houston and Ripley.