On the ten year anniversary of September 11th, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Suncoast alumni, Presidential Scholar and singer Blaine Krauss will perform a tribute ceremony to the nation’s greatest tragedy in Paris, France. Blaine is one of the six artists chosen by two organizations, the French Will Never Forget and Young Arts. The French Will Never Forget is inviting performers from Young Arts to perform along with the Académie de Musique of the Palais-Royal Orchestra and choir.

The French Will Never Forget is a French organization created in 2003 to strengthen the friendship between the U.S. and France, and Young Arts is a national organization which recognizes and supports America’s most talented 17 and 18 year-olds in the visual, literary and performing arts.

“Just like the old quote says, ‘when talent and preparation meets opportunity, a blessing is shown,’” says Blaine. “I am honored to represent my family, city and country in something that means much more to people than I will ever know.”

A native of St. Petersburg, Blaine is currently pursuing higher education at the University of Cincinnati in Ohio. As a youth, Blaine attended the Royal Theatre at the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Suncoast, where he learned to appreciate the arts.

The Royal Theatre was the first Boys & Girls Club designated strictly to the arts, gaining national praise and attention. The Royal Theatre allows underprivileged children to gain an appreciation for the arts by providing a state-of-the-art performing and cultural arts center for the underserved community.

Blaine furthered his artistic education at the Pinellas County Center for the Arts (PCCA) at Gibbs High School. As a presidential scholar, Blaine has performed for the President and First Lady Obama. Blaine has also performed at the Bank of America Leadership Summit, West Virginia’s Public Theatre, the Olive Branch Project Initiative: “Let’s Get Together” Tour, and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Blaine was named one of Creative Loafing’s Young Artists to Watch Under 25.

Blaine serves as an inspiration for youth and teaches that hard work and determination yield grand opportunities, similar to other Boys & Girls Clubs of American alumni who have grown up to become successful, including Ashanti, Jennifer Lopez and Usher.

About the Boys & Girls Club of the Suncoast:

The Boys & Girls Clubs of America movement came to Pinellas County in November 1959 with the founding of the Boys Club of Pinellas Park by Police Chief Maurice L. MacTarsney and Margret “Peg” Nunn.  The Club began operating in January 1960 in an old frame building leased from the City of Pinellas Park with its first executive director, James S Hart Jr.  The Boys Clubs of Pinellas, Inc. was chartered in August 1967 when its second club opened at the Northside location in St. Petersburg.  In May 1970, at the urging of both the United Way and the Boys Clubs of America, the Boys Clubs of Pinellas County, Inc. was organized.  In 1991, the Boys Clubs of Pinellas County opened its programs to all youth, forming Boys & Girls Clubs of the Suncoast (BGCS), as we know it today, now with eleven locations.  BGCS, under the leadership of the formal CEO, Carl R. Lavender, Jr., has the goal “to influence the behavior and the attitudes of each individual boy and girl in a wholesome manner.” The new CEO/President, Nita Smith, has expressed her commitment to carry the torch to even greater achievements with an effort to reach more of our youth in the Pinellas County.

The sole purpose of BGCS is to provide children, youth, their families and the community opportunities for safe, structured, well supervised after school and summer youth programs, with an emphasis on leadership, education and self-sufficiency.  The organization has proven its commitment to service for children and community members with innovative and progressive programming and opportunities.  Supporters of Boys & Girls Clubs include government politicians, law enforcement agency representatives, financial institutions, and education boards, among other concerned citizens.  To find out more or to help, visit www.bgcsuncoast.org.