If a one-legged, African-American girl from San Diego with no money and no snow can win medals as a ski racer...surely I can follow my dream to find joy in life.
Well known author and inspirational speaker Bonnie St. John will speak at this year’s Boys & Girls Clubs of Nassau County’s 5th Annual Benefit to be held at The Ritz–Carlton, Amelia Island on February 24 at 6:00 PM.
NBC Nightly News called her “one of the five most inspiring women in America.”
Bonnie is a nationally-recognized author, inspirational speaker, executive coach, former athlete, mother and TV personality.
In addition to the outstanding keynote speaker, the gala event will feature an enticing silent auction held during a cocktail hour preceding the banquet dinner. Auction items range from a fishing trip in Alaska to resort and hide-away visits to works of art. When coupled with attendance at the gala, the auction provides a major share of support for operation of the two local Boys & Girls Clubs. Success of the gala is ensured by the generosity and help of The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island management and staff.
Bonnie St. John, born in San Diego, grew up on a low-income, crime-ridden environment near Los Angeles and lost a leg at age five to a medical disorder. Yet Bonnie graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University, earned her Masters degree in Economics at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. She has served as Director of the White House National Economic Council in the Clinton Administration. In 1984, she competed in the Paralympics in Austria and was the first African-American to win medals in downhill ski racing: one silver and two bronze medals.
Her quote on her Paralympics experience has resounded widely across the Nation and the Worlds: “I was ahead in the slalom. But in the second run, everyone fell at a dangerous spot. I was beaten by a woman who got up faster than I did. I learned that when people fall down, winners get up, and gold-medal winners get up faster,” a quote that was even featured on a Starbucks beverage mug.
Bonnie is the author of four books: ‘Succeeding Sane’, ‘Getting Ahead at Work’, ‘Money: Fall Down? Get Up!’ and ‘How Strong Women Pray‘. During the celebration of Black History Month in 2007, she was honored by President George W. Bush who said: “Bonnie is the kind of person you really want to be around, and the kind of person that shows individual courage matters in life.”
As a child, Bonnie found an important source of support back home in what was the Girls Club. Consequently she was eager to come to Amelia Island and give her support to Boys & Girls Clubs here. Bonnie’s life is an example of the success that can derive from achieving the goals of Boys & Girls Clubs: to inspire and enable all young people, especially those from disadvantaged circumstances, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens.
Another quote from Bonnie St. John illustrates why her words at the Benefit will be so meaningful: “I have faced so many difficult life situations myself – healing from sexual abuse, and family dysfunction, having my leg amputated as a child, facing race and gender discrimination, learning to be a mom, home-schooling and more.” She believes: “Everyone has the God-given capacity to live joyfully – it doesn’t depend on your circumstances. But it does require that you make the choice to identify your joys in life and take action to reach them.”
Bonnie’s experience of bouncing back from adversity has taught her that there is no “magic bullet” that solves all problems with the snap of a finger. No one diet works for all body types. No one type of emotional support or healing works for all personality types. Bonnie has discovered that the secret to her resilience and personal growth is building a patchwork quilt of solutions just for her: various exercise programs, support of friends, spending time in nature, seeking expert knowledge, reading books, and of course, always relying on prayer for guidance. Bonnie doesn’t say that what works for her will solve everyone’s problems. But her goal is to always present a myriad of choices to help make the decisions easier and the ultimate path to joy clearer for a variety of people.
Go to www.bgcnassau.org or phone (904) 261-8666 to get information on purchasing a ticket to hear Bonnie’s message and attend this exceptional Benefit event. Truly a rare opportunity to not only learn from a master in overcoming adversity, but also learning at the same time why Boys and Girls Club need your enduring support.