Meet the Honorees: Natalie Wood

Where did you grow up?
Baton Rouge

Name a hobby or your favorite sport.
I’m currently raising two highland cows with my kids even though I know nothing about farm animals. 

Name someone that has been influential in your life.
I had a high school science teacher who encouraged me to become an engineer which something I would have never considered that I was capable of.  

What does being a Great Futures Gala Honoree mean to you? 
I feel very strongly that if you want to save the world, the best place to start is with educating and empowering children which is exactly what the Boys and Girls Club does.  Being an honoree is how I visibly show others the importance of volunteering and donating to organizations that are working to improve the lives of our community’s youth.

Why do you feel it’s important to give back?
I believe that everyone has something they can give and every gift, no matter how small moves us all closer to where we are supposed to be.

What did you want to be growing up?
I think I’ve always had an interest in science.  I specifically remember in elementary school being mildly obsessed with black holes and I even created my own taped lectures on the subject while sitting in my closet.

Meet the Honorees: Davante Lewis

Where did you grow up? 
I am born and raised in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Proud to be from Southwest Louisiana

Name a hobby, or your favorite sport.
My hobby is watching C-SPAN and learning random facts about government. However, I love volleyball, just to short to play.

Name someone that has been influential in your life. 
My Great- grandmother Viola. She was born before women got the right to vote and Black people had civil rights. She lived long enough to be able to see the world that she knew transform. She taught me how to never give up the fight, stay true to who you are, and remember to not stress over small things because when you get in your 90s you won't remember it.

What does being a Great Futures Gala Honoree mean to you? 
I am completely humbled and honored to be a nominee. My life's motto has been "passion without action is a wasted emotion". I have spent the last few years being passionate about the work to advance children and people. While, I don't do the work for recognition or to feel good about myself. It is humbling to know that someone thinks the work I am doing is worthy and appreciated.

Why do you feel it's important to give back? 
It is important to know that we are all in this village of life together. Giving back is not just about being philanthropic, but also about our shared journey and equal success. I was always taught " If you can help someone along the way then your living is not in vain". We should all help someone in way we can. We all posse a talent, have resources, or an experience of life that someone could benefit from. Giving back turns many into one.

What did you want to be growing up?
I had a dream to be a Tony award winning stage actor, or The U.S. Secretary of Education, or both.

Meet the Honorees: Jessica Keasler

Where did you grow up? 
Binghamton, NY

Name a hobby, or your favorite sport.
Dance was a sport I participated in growing up, and now take dance classs whenever I can. I also ennjoy watching various dance performances.

Name someone that has been influential in your life. 
My high school science teacher, we called him Grizz. He taught me learning was more than memorizing facts, to think outside of normal conventions, appreciation of your surroundings, and soometimes you have to let your hair down and have a little fun.

What does being a Great Futures Gala Honoree mean to you? 
I am honored to have been chosen amongst other peers to bring awareness and raise money for this great organization. The children of our community are The Future.

Why do you feel it's important to give back? 
I fully believe in paying it forward.

What did you want to be growing up?
A ballerina or a marine biologist. While neither of those happened, I am fortunate to truly love what I fell into, environmental consulting.

Meet the Honorees: Annie Claire Bass

Where did you grow up? 
Marksville, LA

Name a hobby, or your favorite sport.
It's tough to have a hobby when you own your own business, but when I can find the spare time, I really enjoy playing the piano and singing. I used to frequent open mic nights in college and now with two daughters showing interest in music, I am able to dabble in it a little more often. I also love a good group fitness class and spontaneous day trips with my husband and two girls.

Name someone that has been influential in your life. 
Does it have to be just one person? :) My mom, sister, grandmother and husband are all people that have been influential in my life, all in different ways. If I have to choose just one, it would be my mom. She is fearless and the hardest worker I know. She is a strong business woman whom I admire and have learned so much from. Anytime I have business related questions, she is my go-to girl. Anytime I need to vent, she is there. She is one of my biggest cheerleaders and a sounding board when I need advice. She has a giving heart and would go to the ends of the earth for her family. This is a trait that I try to apply in my own life. We are very similar in many ways and I'm not mad about it! ;)

What does being a Great Futures Gala Honoree mean to you? 
Being a Great Futures Gala Honoree means that I'm able to put myself out there and do something that will impact young people in a positive way. Big or small, I know that being an honoree will have a lasting impact on the kids of the Boys & Girls Club. I'm truly humbled to have been selected amongst so many much more deserving young professionals.

Why do you feel it's important to give back? 
I feel it is important to give back because it strengthens communities and brings people together. Not only does it make a positive impact, but giving back opens the eyes and minds of people who may not be aware of what is really needed in our community. I feel that giving back is something we all should do as a good citizen for no other reason than it’s the right thing to do.

What did you want to be growing up?
A famous singer / songwriter (HA)! Seriously. Then, I came to realize that I really just wanted to work for myself and be a successful business owner. I still have some growing up to do, but I'm determined to make that dream a reality.

Meet the Honorees: Lacey Sanchez

Where did you grow up? 
Baton Rouge

Name a hobby, or your favorite sport.
I love to run! Especially with my local Varsity Sports running club!

Name someone that has been influential in your life. 
My mom and dad supported every wild dream I ever had. They were always present- whether it was watching me sing on a stage in middle school, cheering at a football game in high school, or pole vaulting across the country in college. Having them in my corner every step of the way made me believe in myself and gave me the courage to never be complacent; to fearlessly chase my dreams. Every young person deserves the love and support my parents gave and continue to give me.

What does being a Great Futures Gala Honoree mean to you? 
Being an honoree is an incredible honor, but to me, it's also a call to action to take a stand in my community and help our local kids reach their full potential.

Why do you feel it's important to give back? 
The more we give, the more we create a culture of giving to unite our community. By investing in the future of our young people, we are investing in the future of our home.

What did you want to be growing up?
My whole life I can remember asking my dad, "When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?" His response, "I'll let you know when I decide." I think I'd like to adopt this happy motto.

Meet the Honorees: Mathew Laborde

Where did you grow up? 
Lafayette, LA

Name a hobby, or your favorite sport.
Musical Theatre

Name someone that has been influential in your life. 
My grandfather Elmo "Doc" Laborde, Sr.

What does being a Great Futures Gala Honoree mean to you? 
It's an honor to be recognized by Club Blue and the Boys & Girls Club.

Why do you feel it's important to give back? 
I've been blessed with so much.

What did you want to be growing up?
An architect

Meet the Honorees: NeShana Bilbrew

Where did you grow up? 
Plaquemine, Louisiana

Name a hobby, or your favorite sport.
I love cooking and spending time with people who make me laugh until my stomach hurts. I’m a true Louisiana girl; it's only natural my favorite moments involve food and family.

Name someone that has been influential in your life.
My mother, Linda, has taught me that helping others shine in no way dims your light. She likes to say, “What’s meant for you is for you”. She is smart, supportive, resourceful, trusted, loving and gives without expectation. I hope people see in me all that I see in her.

What does being a Great Futures Gala Honoree mean to you? 
Navigating the ups and downs of life can make it easy to question your value. What do I have to give? What have I done that’s so great? I hope people will relate to a regular, hard-working mom with a love for people and community. I hope they will see that progress is less about what you’ve done and more of what you are going to do next. For me, this recognition is a declaration that regardless of your station in life, despite any obstacles you face, your future is always as great as you dare to believe it can be.

Why do you feel it's important to give back? 
I get lost in the count when I think of all the people that have shared their time and talents with me. I know firsthand that the right interaction can create a spark and change the trajectory of a person’s life. So it’s important that each of us is out there pouring our best into others, and teaching them to do the same. That’s what makes the work of the Boys & Girls Club so impactful.

What did you want to be growing up?
I wanted to be a singer; Teena Marie to be exact. Sadly I was not given the gift of song. I was, however, blessed to earn degrees in both physics and nursing. Now I get to work in a position where I develop innovative solutions that help physicians and nurses provide the best possible care for our patients and their families. So, I guess I’ll say it all worked out.

Meet the Honorees: Chip McAlpin

Where did you grow up? 
St. Louis

Name a hobby, or your favorite sport.
Travel

Name someone that has been influential in your life. 
My wife, Allie

What does being a Great Futures Gala Honoree mean to you? 
It is an honor to be included, along with so many talented co-honorees, in the effort to raise funds for such a wonderful cause.

Why do you feel it's important to give back? 
Because, if everyone in life left the action of giving back to someone else, nothing would get done and nobody would receive any help

What did you want to be growing up?
President of the United States (a scary thought, perhaps)

Meet the Honorees: Jonathan Blake

Where did you grow up? 
Natchitoches, LA

Name a hobby, or your favorite sport.
Reading and Watching Football

Name someone that has been influential in your life. 
My Wife Erin has been very influential in my life. She has made me a better man and thank God she chose me!

What does being a Great Futures Gala Honoree mean to you? 
There is much responsibility that comes with this honor. I must continue to serve this community through action and not words. As a young man, some of the greatest lessons I learned from my father came from his actions and not his words. Actions speak louder than words

Why do you feel it's important to give back? 
It is very important to give back because I think we all have the tendency to misunderstand just how blessed we are. I was blessed to have Godfearing parents who taught me the importance of having a strong relationship with the Lord and the importance of education. I also had great grandparents who played a very important role in my life teaching me morals and stressing education as well. Everyone is not as fortunate as I was and that is why I have a duty to mentor and impart into the lives of young people and I will continue to do so.

Meet the Honorees: Franz Borghardt

Where did you grow up? 
Baton Rouge

Name a hobby, or your favorite sport.
Recording a legal podcast on iTunes called Legally Unfiltered

Name someone that has been influential in your life. 
My parents

What does being a Great Futures Gala Honoree mean to you? 
Trying to serve as an example to others about the importance of investing in the children who are the future.

Why do you feel it's important to give back? 
I believe those who can share knowledge, experiences, and mentoring with others have an obligation to do so.

What did you want to be growing up?
Teacher

Meet the Honorees: Kelli Bondy Troutman

Where did you grow up?
Baton Rouge, LA

Name a hobby or your favorite sport.
Listening to live music 

Name someone that has been influential in your life.
Jeff Wright who was a boss and mentor at Wright Feigley Communications. He gave me my first advertising job out of college and taught me so much of what I know.  That job had a profound impact on my career.

What does being a Great Futures Gala Honoree mean to you?
A chance to connect with youth in our community who have very bright futures.

Why do you feel it’s important to give back?
I think we are all called to "pay it forward" and connecting with other people is what life is all about.

What did you want to be growing up?
A veterinarian

Meet the Honorees: Jessica Trepagnier

Where did you grow up? 
Baton Rouge, LA

Name a hobby or a favorite sport.
Favorite sport is LSU Football, and my favorite hobby is entertaining my friends and family.

Name someone that has been influential in your life. 
My grandmother, Agnes Honore, she taught me how to live with grace, the importance of knowing how to sew, and finishing crossword puzzles. 

What does being a Great Futures Gala Honoree mean to you? 
A great deal, having a platform to engage my peers in our community on the work of the Boys & Girls Club is an honor and treasure. I hope I can encourage my friends, family, and community to be involved and know that it takes every one of us to be a part of the difference we want to see in our community. 

Why do you feel it’s important to give back? 
I have lived a pretty charmed life, and I thank my parents for keeping me humble and teaching me the value in giving back. Without service to others and our community we wouldn’t be able to grow or thrive. If I want to see any real change, it has to start with me. 

What did you want to be growing up? 
I wanted to be an attorney, luckily an internship with the A.C. Lewis YMCA gave me a glimpse into marketing and public relations and the rest is history!

Meet the Honorees: Kelley McCann

Name someone that has been influential in your life. 
My mother has been the most influential person in my life for always being there to support me in all my endeavors and teaching me to be kind and respectful to everyone. 

Name a hobby, or your favorite sport.
My favorite sport to watch is soccer from all over the world but my favorite sport to participate in is rock climbing.

What does being a Great Futures Gala Honoree mean to you?
I am so honored to join 13 other young professionals in this Class of honorees. I work hard to stay committed to making my community a little better than I found it. Joining this Class and having the opportunity to help the Boys & Girls Club is truly an honor I am humbled to receive.

Where did you grow up?
I grew up in the Mid- City and Garden District areas of Baton Rouge. 

Why do you feel it's important to give back?
I feel it’s important for me to give back because Baton Rouge is a city that I love and care for and that includes the people in it.  I believe by helping and nurturing Baton Rogue's youth, we can instill kindness and support for others in their lives and be a positive influence.

What did you want to be growing up?
As a child, I always wanted to be a US Navy fighter pilot. Top Gun was my absolute favorite movie.

Meet the Honorees: Candace Temple

Name someone that has been influential in your life. 
Tiffany Temple, my sister. She is an awesome example of strength, courage and has a servants heart. I believe it is important to be surrounded by people who will encourage and support you and who are willing to give you constructive criticism all from a Godly perspective.

Name a hobby, or your favorite sport.
Basketball

What does being a Great Futures Gala Honoree mean to you?
It gives me an opportunity to bring awareness to the great things the Boys and Girls Club does for the youth in our community. Also, I am able to raise money to help ensure the kids continue to be served in ways they will never forget.

Where did you grow up?
Baton Rouge, LA

Why do you feel it's important to give back?
I believe giving back and serving others is the highest use of life. God blesses us to be a blessing to others.

What did you want to be growing up?
Growing up I wanted to work in Business Marketing

Meet the Honorees: Katherine Clements

Name someone that has been influential in your life. 
My entire family, but especially my parents, Joe and Karen. The unconditional love and support of my parents has helped shape me into the women I am today. They have always reinforced the importance of kind words and laughter. I would be lost on this journey of life without them by my side.

Name a hobby, or your favorite sport.
I love watching LSU baseball!

What does being a Great Futures Gala Honoree mean to you?
It is often said that it takes a village to raise a child. Being a Great Futures Gala Honoree means I get to be a part of a village that spreads kindness and laughter to children in the Baton Rouge community. The innocence of my nephew and nieces remind me that life is full of more good than bad. We, as a village, should strive to be positive role models in all aspects of our lives.

Where did you grow up?
Baton Rouge, LA

Why do you feel it's important to give back?
I am fortunate that people invested in me as a child. From my parents encouraging me to study and become well rounded, to my sister teaching me how to be strong when things seem tough, to my dance teachers giving me an outlet to escape from the chaos of life. These people all cared about my future and well-being. It’s my turn to pay it forward. I believe we should invest in one another to build a better, stronger tomorrow.

What did you want to be growing up?
The President of the United States

Meet the Honorees: Bridget Kaigler, CPA, CGMA, CMA, MBA

Name someone that has been influential in your life. 
I’m a product of many influential people, not just one. My grandparents instilled morals and values in me at a young age. Family and friends encouraged me to keep moving forward regardless of life challenges and adversities. My son Shamar keeps a smile on my face as I see him grow into a young man. Professors ensured I had the essential tools – oral/written communication skills and technical knowledge to excel at any organization. Management helped me perform specific tasks well. My mentors continue to remind me to think outside the box and consider the big picture.

Name a hobby, or your favorite sport.
I’m a fanatic of home improvement projects. From rehabbing old furniture to scrapping popcorn ceilings, I enjoy giving something old, a new look again.

What does being a Great Futures Gala Honoree mean to you?
Thank you for the opportunity and confirming volunteerism does matter. I don’t take this nomination lightly, but rather as another reason to continue my efforts serving the community, promoting my profession, and empowering others. Thanks to my supporters for this incredible honor. I look forward to the work we will do collectively to support our youth and others in the community. My words of encouragement to all: You can be on top of the world without perfection. You can be fulfilled without achieving every goal or aspiration. All you need is progression. If we progress, we will make a difference.

Where did you grow up?
Zachary, LA. I was a small-town girl with big dreams. I’m a constant reminder dreams do come true.

Why do you feel it's important to give back?
Leadership starts with us. This includes volunteerism. We set the standard. Others will follow. Our efforts promote positive change and encourage others to do the same. Let’s pay it forward to shape future leaders. We can give others hope through our story, our voice, and leadership endeavors.

What did you want to be growing up?
A model. I grew up to be just that. I’m a visible role models for others. I represent many individuals/initiatives – christians, diversity, singles parents, aspiring leaders, non-traditional students, women in the CPA profession, to name a few.

Meet the Honorees: Ian Dallimore

Name someone that has been influential in your life. 
I have a handful of people that have been really influential in my life. My mom is easily the most loving, hard-working person I've ever met. I will never forget every little thing she has done and continues to do for my family and me. She has taught me to surround myself with great people and it will rub off. My father-in-law, Ken Jacob, and my boss, John Miller, have also both taught me the importance of character and how to channel my passion and hard work. This advice has been constant in my life—always there at the right time to show me the significance of family and God.

Name a hobby, or your favorite sport.
Playing Basketball

What does being a Great Futures Gala Honoree mean to you?
I'm so lucky to be a Great Futures Gala Honoree. It is truly an honor. 

Where did you grow up?
New Orleans, LA

Why do you feel it's important to give back?
I think it's extremely important to be able to be in this position to give back to those who are less fortunate. I think too often people mistake giving back as meaning giving money. So many kids are only exposed to one type of lifestyle and believe that is the only way to live. By simply spending time with someone who can have an impact, can change their lives forever. The simplest thing from teaching them how to shake a hand, tie a tie or even giving them an opportunity to have a new experience can change everything. Giving back helps grow our society and show the loving spirit we often take for granted.

What did you want to be growing up?
Pediatrician

Meet the Honorees: Theo Richards

Name someone that has been influential in your life. 
My parents, Annie & Donald Richards. They believed in me when I was at my worst. My parents afforded me the opportunity to thrive in life and the know all to learn from my mistakes. They have taught me values to live by, they have supported me and they encourage me to pursue my dreams while challenging myself to be the best that I can be. I would not be the person I am today without their love and guidance.

Name a hobby, or your favorite sport.
Zulu & My New Orleans Saints

What does being a Great Futures Gala Honoree mean to you?
I hope by being a 2018 Great Futures Honoree I can inspire my peers to be the change. To encourage them to give up their time, talent and treasures to build a better Baton Rouge.

Where did you grow up?
New Orleans & Sicily Island, LA

Why do you feel it's important to give back?
I had the good fortune of attending quality public schools throughout my life. With the current disrepair of our education system, I feel it’s up to us to restore it. Though I have no kids, each student that enters a school in the morning inspires me that a parent should have free high performing quality education options for their child.

What did you want to be growing up?
Public Servant

Meet the Honorees: Rowdy Gaudet

Name someone that has been influential in your life. 
My parents. They taught me the value of commitment and honesty.

Name a hobby, or your favorite sport.
Audio books, exercise

What does being a Great Futures Gala Honoree mean to you?
Helping to promote a tremendous organization that does so much to benefit kids.

Where did you grow up?
Moss Bluff, Louisiana

Why do you feel it's important to give back?
To strengthen my community

What did you want to be growing up?
Yoda

Meet the Honorees: Jacob Jolibois

Name someone that has been influential in your life. 
My parents, Todd and Valorie Jolibois

Name a hobby, or your favorite sport.
Ultimate Frisbee

What does being a Great Futures Gala Honoree mean to you?
Being a Great Futures Gala Honoree means I've already been given the tools and the opportunities to do something that matters — tools and opportunity that a lot of kids don't have access to. But that's what Boy's and Girl's Club is all about; that's why it's such an honor to be recognized by an organization who is 100% committed to giving each child their shot.

Where did you grow up?
Baton Rouge, LA

Why do you feel it's important to give back?
Giving back is an integral part of being human because when you live like you're the only person who matters, you lose a piece of your humanity. You're just surviving at the expense of others. In Matthew 10, Jesus sends out His disciples encouraging them, "freely you have received, freely give." Giving back is a way to remind ourselves of what we have been given by our Creator and to share that same gift of love and grace with the people around us and fully embrace our identity as humans made in the image of God.

What did you want to be growing up?
Everything at one point or another