Photos by: Mark Astrom
The Boys and Girls Club of Marion County holds its magical 6th annual Rock with the Docs Valentine Gala transforming hard-luck kids to belles and barons of the ball.
Brianna and Jocelyn are high school students who live in drug-infested neighborhoods of Silver Spring Shores, where shootouts are common. They, and many other girls and boys like them, live in poverty and struggle daily to overcome the grip of misery that would otherwise diminish anyone’s dreams, each one with a Cinderella story.
All they want is a chance. A chance to escape the plight of drugs and the shroud of despair that darkens their crime-infested neighborhoods so that they could make something of themselves and show that they matter. Often it seems to them that no one cares and there is no fairy godmother or prince to rescue them.
There are people who care, such as Jerry Lane, the Chief Professional Officer of the Boys and Girls Club of Marion County. He oversees the educational and preventive programs offered to assist these children and maintains safe havens where children can congregate, socialize, play and train without danger or fear. He oversees three locations throughout the county — the Presbyterian Church of Silver Spring Shores, the Boys and Girls Club in Ocala and a club in Ernie Mills Park, Dunnellon. Membership costs only $15 per year for each kid.
There are others who care — people like Carolyn Humphrey and Elaine Zirakian, the co-chairs of the Roc with the Docs Valentine Gala, which raises money to help support the club. Now in its sixth year, the Roc with the Docs is the largest fundraiser for the Boys & Girls Club of Marion County.
Others who care include the band Nite Call, seven medical professionals who provided the musical entertainment for Roc with the Docs since the gala’s inception. Dr. Rubin serves on the board of the club and bridged the band to the gala. Nite Call plays everything from ‘70s and ‘80s classic rock by such artists as the Rolling Stones, Santana and Eric Clapton, to contemporary tunes by Smash Mouth, Jimmy Eat World and Maroon 5.
Many more attended the Roc with the Docs Valentine Gala and donated generously. The gala raised $8,000 in its first year. Last year, the gala had 300 participants, up from 170 the year before, and raised $65,000. This year, the organizers hope to attract more than 300 participants and raise $100,000. One hundred percent of the money raised goes directly to the club operations.
Each year the guests say the highlight of the event was interacting with the 30 boys and girls who serve as ambassadors, one per table. The kids auction off the table centerpieces, which they made themselves.
For Brianna and Jocelyn, Roc with the Docs has been a delightful experience that allowed them to meet new people they would have otherwise most likely never have met. The Boys and Girls Club provides Brianna with a safe environment and has taught her how to have a good attitude and be a team player. She plays varsity volleyball for West Port High School. Jocelyn gained pride by raising money for the club. Both cherish the memories made at the club.
In addition to Brianna and Jocelyn, the club served 956 kids last year, almost 80 percent from one-parent families. Between the three locations, the club helps more than 300 kids each day. Join the fun at Roc with the Docs and include yourself as someone who cares.
A Valentine Gala
Roc with the Docs
Feb. 10, 2012, 6 p.m.
Golden Ocala Golf and Equestrian Club
8300 NW 31st Land Road
Ocala, FL 34482
Corporate tables of 10 can be reserved for $1,500. Individual tickets are available for $100 per person. To purchase individual tickets, reserve tables of 10, or inquire about other sponsorship levels contact Carolyn Humphrey at 352.732.6528 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
AD SPONSOR: Ron and Phyllis Ewers
EVENT SPONSOR: Bright House
Boys and Girls Club operates solely on donations and grants.