– review of the event and interview with NBA legend and keynote speaker Alonzo Mourning at the Office Depot Global Headquarters (Boca Raton).
On April 6th, in the heart of Boca Raton, the YMCA of South Palm Beach County, with the help of Office Depot, hosted their largest fundraiser of the year, the 14th annual Inspiration Breakfast, presented by BB&T. Amongst the supporters were guest keynote speaker Alonzo Mourning and emcee Kristen Hewitt. The purpose of the Inspiration Breakfast was to raise funds for the Y’s financial assistance program, which provides everyone, regardless of income, the ability to participate in valuable, life-changing YMCA programs.
After introductions over some bacon and eggs, the program jumped into a heartwarming story about Carly, a promising young girl with an unfortunate condition that caused weakness in her upper body. Through programing at the Y, including swim related rehab and strength building, Carly and her family are winning her battle.
While the heartwarming stories of the children who benefit from the Y’s programming are powerful, much of the crowd was interested in another powerful force in the room, Alonzo Mourning. In South Florida, few names are more synonymous with strength and perseverance than Mourning. Through his Olympic Gold Medal winning, NBA Championship, and Hall of Fame basketball career to his fight with kidney disease (focal segmental glomerulosclerosis), Mourning has remained a pillar in the South Florida community, bringing inspiration and support to those in need, especially through the Mourning Family Foundation. Describing Mourning, Richard Pollack, President and CEO of the YMCA of South Palm Beach County said, “[Mourning’s] story is one of courage, perseverance, leadership, motivation and philanthropy – themes that resonate within the Y movement.”
Speaking about the importance of the cause, Mourning described the YMCA as a “safe haven” and “an institution in our community;” an institution Morning has felt a personal connection with since the YMCA impacted his community as a child growing up in Virginia. Beyond the opportunities the YMCA provided directly to Mourning, he himself was quick to point out how he also benefited from the work of James Naismith from the Springfield YMCA. There, Naismith invented and coordinated the first game of basketball.
Focusing on issues that are specific to our community, Mourning discussed the importance of the Y’s swimming programs and water safety campaigns. These initiatives are helping to prevent the continuation of a drowning death epidemic that’s all around Florida. Other topics included the need for healthy living and the fight to offset obesity, especially in our youth. Toward the end of his discussion, Mourning discussed mentorship, community support and influence, which are ideals he cultivated under great leaders like John Thompson, Micky Arison and Pat Riley.
At the close of the event and through the power of all those who support the South Palm Beach YMCA, over $70,000.00 was raised. “Helping children and families grow and develop” and “providing a beacon of hope” Mourning may have been talking about the YMCA, but South Florida can describe Mourning the same.
For more information, visit www.ymcaspbc.org/