President of African-American Club Wants to Empower Youth Across County
Newly elected president Darryll Stevenson wants to start new programming to help Pasco youths lead successful lives.
Darryll Stevenson was officially named president of the African American Club of Pasco recently, and he wants to launch new programming that serves young people.
“We want to enlighten and empower our young people, especially high schoolers,” he said.
He’s not referring to only black youths, either.
“I don’t care what they look like,” he said.
Stevenson, 48, wants the club to be a resource where young people can find tutors, learn about ways to get into college and connect with ways to find careers.
Stevenson grew up in Suffolk County, New York. He worked for the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office for more than a decade and a half, he said, his time including a role as a correction officer. He also served in the Army.
He also has experience in community service, he said. Among other things, he was involved with the United North Amityville Youth Organization and the North Amityville Fire Department.
Stevenson moved to Pasco County about four and a half years ago. He is the father of 10 kids, six biological and four adopted, he said.
The club’s new board of trustees elected Stevenson as president Sept. 13. He had already served as acting president for a while prior to that. His wife was elected treasurer Sept. 13.
One of the things Stevenson wants to make into reality is a program he calls The Academy.
The Academy, which would start in January, would be a program in which kids could receive help getting into college, learn about careers and receive life skill education.
“We want to give them an edge,” he said.
For example, Stevenson wants to take youths to visit college campuses, including historically black colleges. He also wants to take them to visit job sites to learn about careers. The Academy could also help with essay writing, etiquette, and drug prevention awareness.
Stevenson also wants to launch a spoken word program and resurrect a golf program at the club.
The club, which is a nonprofit organization, has to contend with the question of funding activities, but it also is trying to increase awareness of its existence.
“People don’t know we’re here,” he said.
The African American Club of Pasco is headquartered in the old Booker T. Washington School building on Pine Hill Road in Port Richey, near the border of Port Richey and New Port Richey.
The school served black kids in the area during the era of legalized segregation. It closed in 1967. It later reopened as a community and cultural center.
A group of retired and professional black men formed the African American Club of West Pasco Nov. 20, 1990, to give back to the community.
The area around the club was economically depressed, and youth faced problems with drug addiction and lack of motivation and supervision.
An after-school program was established, but it ceased to operate prior to when Stevenson joined the club.
The club, however, still hosts activities, including trips to places important to African American history in Florida. Stevenson, a board member on the West Pasco Historical Society, wants to continue trips to historic sites.
The demographics of the area surrounding the club have changed, however. There are fewer black youths within walking distance for one thing, Stevenson said.
Stevenson wants the club to have a reach that is countywide, even going to Dade City. The club changed its name from the African American Club of West Pasco to the African American Club of Pasco last year. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, black people make up 5.1 percent of Pasco County's population.
Stevenson has other goals in mind, as well.
"I want to expose (young people) to a positive image of black people,"he said.
The African American Club of Pasco normally meets the first Saturday of each month at 11 a.m., although the next upcoming meeting is tentatively set for Sept. 27 at 7 p.m.
The club is looking for new members and donations. For more information on how to get involved, contact Stevenson at 727-495-3206 or Secretary Dan Callaghan at email@example.com.