Antonio Hanson, 35, attended a Boys & Girls Club on the east side of Fort Worth when he was 8 years old. His six years there helped shape him into the man he is today.
“Since I was growing up, everything was centered around service and serving others,” Hanson said.
On April 19, Hanson coincidentally drove by the Boys & Girls Club of Tarrant County’s Nicholas & Louella Martin branch, 3123 Avenue G, as Bridgestone gave the club a new van as a part of its “Driving Great Futures” initiative.
Hanson greeted Kevin Foster, the vice president of Community Relations and Building Services at the Boys & Girls Club of Tarrant County, whom he met when he was kid.
“I saw him riding by, and I had to stop,” Hanson said. “Throughout that time, I ran into guys like him and Mr. Larry, who basically helped give me an alternative father figure and showed me what success was and longevity and consistency.”
Bridgestone has been partnering with the Boys & Girls Club of Tarrant County since 2015 and has donated $15 million to clubs and donated over 25 vans to different club locations, Marcus Hicks, the senior vice president of operations at the Boys & Girls Club of Tarrant County, said.
“We definitely want to give back to the community,” Jason Huff, the area manager at Bridgestone, said. “And you guys are a huge part of the community. You guys are actually our future leaders.”
The van will serve as an extension to the transportation for kids at the club.
“So much of what I’ve learned about our organization was just rooted in the community,” Hicks said. “We’ve got some things where you have high school kids, that may only be three kids, and we don’t need a big bus. This gives flexibility for us to do some other things on a smaller scale.”
Club faculty will often pick students up from schools. The club’s location on Avenue G also serves as a gang prevention program for teenagers and at-risk youth, Hicks said.
“I’m at a point where this is just me saying ‘Thank you,’ you know? I listened,” Hanson said. “I was them, and I had good people around me that kept me safe from the exteriors of the neighborhood that it was in.”
Cristian ArguetaSoto is the community engagement journalist at the Fort Worth Report. Contact him by email or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.