One of Avalon Park Wesley Chapel’s main missions is being a champion for culture.
“Celebrating culture is a vital part of building a community,” says Stephanie Lerret, senior vice president of Marketing and Community Relations for Avalon Park Group. “It helps create a sense of place and belonging through strengthening social relationships and fostering empathy.”
This is why Avalon Park Wesley Chapel would like to applaud the African American Club (AAC) of Pasco for the incredible work they are doing to promote an environment that focuses on cultural, social, ethical, educational and creative interests for middle- and high-schoolers in Pasco County.
AAC of Pasco was founded in 1990 by a friend group of African American men, one of them being Eugene Scott, the current president of the club.
“We were just hanging out, watching football, and started to discuss how every time we read the newspaper, there would be bad news and negative publicity about the African American community,” says Scott. “We said to each other, “This doesn’t represent all of us,” so we got together and said, “let’s see what we can do.””
Scott and his friends went to the Pasco County school board to see if they could use a vacant school center, which was once Booker T. Washington School (and also the school Scott attended as a child) located at 6105 Pine Hill Road in Port Richey.
“We went to the board and told them we wanted to change the perception of the African American community,” says Scott.
Pasco County school board said yes, and the rest is history.
AAC of Pasco’s main mission is to nurture the local youth and provide them opportunities to succeed in life. They recognized many children face problems in schools such as drug and alcohol abuse, lack of discipline, supervision, purpose and/or motivation, and wanted to change that. The club wants to provide a safe, open, productive environment for these middle- and high-schoolers.
AAC of Pasco offers a wide range of programs and opportunities. This year, the club is focused on bringing theater (held on Wednesday nights), as well as band and dance (both held on Thursday nights) classes to the kids.
And at the end of the year, AAC of Pasco always plans a ‘super trip’ for the kids.
“We’ve taken them to places like Atlanta and Disney World,” says Scott. “We make sure our program and activities are based on what the kids truly enjoy and what they will remember years later.”
And these kids do remember.
A lot of the club’s past members come back as adults, and volunteer at the club, or even bring their own children to be part of the club.
“I appreciate the volunteers that have been there year after year. The support for the club is really appreciated,” says Scott.
Scott encourages any parent who has a child they think might be interested in joining, to stop by the center.
For more information about the African American club of Pasco and how you can help support it, go to aacpascofl.org.