We are the Fort Lauderdale Community Center (FLCC), initially established in 2002 as the IOG Community Youth Vocational Center in Stone Mountain, GA. Our primary goal was to provide vocational training to at-risk children by teaching them computer repair and terminology. We employed an interactive approach where the children would disassemble and reassemble a working computer system, which they were then able to take home. In 2009, we relocated our headquarters to Fort Lauderdale, FL.
Since our move to Fort Lauderdale, the FLCC has been under the leadership of two remarkable individuals: William Gary Jr., serving as the Executive Director, and L. Hope Gary, serving as the Chief Executive Officer. Together, they have spearheaded various initiatives aimed at revitalizing disadvantaged neighborhoods and finding solutions to improve the lives of children, youth, and families within the Broward Municipal District (BMSD) of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Hope and William Gary, with unwavering dedication, have dedicated their lives to fulfilling the aspirations of young individuals and adults in our local community. As part of their enduring legacy, we aspire to establish and strengthen partnerships that will provide ongoing support and funding for programs in our core focus areas at the FLCC: Education, Youth Empowerment, Training, Affordable Housing, and Technology.
At the FLCC, we are committed to creating a thriving community where individuals have access to quality education, empowering opportunities, necessary training, affordable housing options, and the latest technological advancements. Join us in our mission to foster positive change and make a lasting impact in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
The creation of the Preston Andre Flowers Foundation stems from a heartbreaking loss—the tragic death of the founder’s nephew due to gun violence on December 26, 2014. In honor of his memory, the family generously donates funds to this organization, which offers scholarships to those in need. Preston, born to Patrice Flowers and Wesley Godwin on February 2, 1974, in South Bend, Indiana, grew up surrounded by his loving aunts and uncles who became more like siblings to him.
Preston, who was named after his great uncle Preston Glover, had an infectious laughter and a vibrant, fun-loving spirit. He possessed charisma, wit, and exceptional intelligence. Throughout his schooling, he achieved remarkable academic success, becoming the Valedictorian of his 6th-grade class and consistently making it onto the honor roll. However, like many young Black men, he struggled to find acceptance in mainstream society. He often felt marginalized due to his darker complexion and what he perceived as “unfavorable” hair. Despite these challenges, Preston charted his own path and ventured into the music industry, believing in his talent and discovering potential in aspiring young artists.
Preston had a remarkable sense of style, always dressed sharply and boasted an impressive collection of over 300 pairs of sneakers. His family held a special place in his heart, and the feeling was mutual. He was known as “That Dude” because of his unwavering willingness to lend a helping hand, offering loans to those in need, supporting his siblings, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother whenever they called upon him.
Moreover, Preston adored his children, nieces, nephews, and cousins, showering them with love and care. His absence is irreplaceable, and his memory will forever be cherished. The Preston Andre Flowers Foundation was established in 2015 as a testament to his life, his impact, and the desire to make a positive difference in the lives of others.
In 2015, tragedy struck our founders once again as they experienced the devastating loss of their nephew, Markest Flowers, to a senseless act of gun violence. Markest’s life was abruptly taken away when he was fatally shot in the face by a white man who harbored anger over Markest occupying a seat he had previously chosen at a restaurant. At the time of his passing, Markest was just 24 years old, leaving behind a young son.
The unimaginable circumstances surrounding Markest’s untimely demise underscore the profound injustice and heartbreak that can arise from such acts of violence. The pain of losing a loved one in such a senseless manner is immeasurable, and the lasting impact on Markest’s family and friends is deep and far-reaching. Their grief is compounded by the fact that Markest’s young son will grow up without his father, missing out on the love, guidance, and presence that should have been a part of his life.
It is essential, now more than ever, to empathize with the anguish experienced by Markest’s family and to recognize the urgent need for compassion, understanding, and efforts to address the deep-seated issues that perpetuate violence in our society. Our hearts go out to the family as they navigate through this profound loss and strive to find healing amidst their grief.
Fort Lauderdale Community Center
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