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Jason Belk, left, was selected as the 2020 winner of the Professional of the Year Award by the Georgia Area Council of Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

ALBANY – Boys & Girls Clubs of Albany recently received a pair of prestigious awards from the Georgia Area Council of Boys & Girls Clubs of America: High Performance Board Team of the Year and Professional of the Year.

The High Performance Board Team award is designed to recognize the board of directors of a local Boys & Girls Club organization that has achieved excellence, as a team, in the areas of marketing, resource development, planning and outreach to underserved youths. As one of the most respected youth development organizations in southwest Georgia, Boys & Girls Clubs of Albany has a long-standing history of providing vital programs to those who need us most.

“Our board of directors has been and remains an essential part of our success which provides staff with the resources, guidance and oversight to build upon our strengths and our success to create a club that will have an increasingly important impact on the young people impacted by our services and programs,” BGC-Albany CEO Marvin Laster said in a news release

The Professional of the Year Award is presented to a dedicated full-time management or youth development club professional who has made a significant impact on the lives of children and can be a role model for other Boys & Girls Club professionals. Jason Belk was selected as the 2020 winner of the Professional of the Year Award.

Also known as “Mr. Jake,” Belk has worked for Boys & Girls Clubs since 1988. Long before becoming a full-time employee, Belk and his two brothers were members of the then-Boys Club of Albany back in 1971. The trailblazing Belk brothers were the first African Americans to join the club during that time. Belk's former Club mentor, Bill Clark, was a big influence in Belk’s life, teaching him the importance of completing his homework and going to college. Because of the impact of the club, its programs and mentors like Clark, Belk earned scholarships to attend college, a milestone for which he is immensely proud.

“Jason Belk has a passion for Boys & Girls Clubs that is unparalleled in this community," Laster said. "He has been a fixture in the clubs for more than four decades, and through his tireless commitment to youth, more opportunities have been afforded to kids through his humble, caring spirit and desire to improve the lives of children since 1988. Jason credits his time at the Ccubs for turning him into the person he is today and for instilling in him the desire to provide other children with the same opportunities he was exposed to growing up in the clubs."

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