Getting to know Arnold Tritt, Jr.

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By Julie Kerns Garmendia
Resident Community News

Q. Your volunteer work for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida is a family tradition?

My father, Arnold Tritt, Sr., 79, was a longtime volunteer and board member for the Clubs. The organization was an important part of his life growing up in Brentwood subsidized housing, where he and his siblings were raised by his mother. He holds the Clubs near to his heart because the staff accepted him, nurtured and helped him grow during his formative years. He credits them with helping him overcome difficult circumstances to become a successful adult.

Q.  Dr. Shannon Perry, Ph.D., and president of the Clubs, calls you a dynamo who has guided the organization, building THE PLAYERS Championship Boys & Girls Club in St. Augustine and expanding the NFL Youth Education Town Boys & Girls Club here. How would you describe your volunteer contributions to the Clubs?

I’m a board member and as an attorney can provide legal counsel. As a contractor I coordinate construction projects and facilities maintenance. I am now managing construction on their new corporate office in Brentwood – right where my father lived. I volunteer to honor my father and his commitment to his community as well as repayment of a debt to those folks who watched over my dad when he needed help most.

Q. You have good childhood memories of the Clubs too…

My father would take me with him…I remember playing bumper pool for the first time at the Lee Club in Springfield. I thought it was the greatest place and such fun. My dad helped me understand how important the Clubs were to those kids; that was their whole world. The Clubs are located right in the line of fire where they are most needed by the kids they serve…in the toughest neighborhoods, housing projects, near inner city schools.

Q. What is the Mission of the Clubs?

Their mission is to inspire and enable youth, especially those from disadvantaged circumstances to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring adults. We strive to help them toward academic success, to develop good character, citizenship and a healthy lifestyle.

Q. Who can join the Clubs?

Youth ages 5-18 who are enrolled in school. There are more than 3,600 kids served daily at 14 Club locations in Duval, Nassau and St. Johns Counties.

Q. . What are some important
statistics about the youth in Northeast Florida’s Boys & Girls Clubs?

* 82% of members are on free or reduced lunches
* 79% are from households under $28,000 annual income
* Only 33% of members live with both parents
* 94% are promoted to the next grade level before summer school
* 100% of our middle and high school members have not become teen mothers
* 95% of members have not entered the juvenile justice system

Q. What would you tell readers interested in supporting or volunteering for the Clubs?

There are many ways to help. Visit the website (bgcnf.org) for information about upcoming fundraising events, write a check, become a volunteer in the Clubs or just help with events.

Q. Can you introduce us to the Tritt family?

My wife Danielle is a mental health counselor and our children are Lillie, 12, an Episcopal middle school cheerleader who loves dance, and son Lee, 10, attends Riverside Presbyterian Day School and enjoys all sports. I’m an attorney in private law practice, Tritt & Associates. We’re fortunate to have both sets of grandparents in Jacksonville, healthy and active. My youngest brother John lives in Riverside with his wife Heather and my nephews Noah, 5, and Nathaniel, 2. My other brother Lee is a professor at UF Law School in Gainesville. We also have furry family members: Wheaten Terrier Daisy and Danielle’s elderly cat, Carmen, also called Miss Moomie.

Q. Family activities?

Danielle and I center our free time around our children’s activities. Every spring we enjoy snow skiing in Aspen where Danielle’s sister and family live. During summers we like to escape the heat by traveling to the Northeast: Maine, Boston or Cape Cod.

Q.  Any other volunteer activities?

Danielle is very active helping in many capacities at both of our children’s schools. I serve on the Episcopal School of Jacksonville Alumni Board and am also active in ACE Mentor Program (introduces high school students to careers in architecture, construction and engineering).

Q. Final words about your volunteer activities?

Working to help youth is so rewarding. I’m lucky to be able to serve on the Boys & Girls Club Board, because I know that we impact young lives and make an immediate difference in their futures. I get to do things I love and help kids at the same time…charitable organizations need our help and they will find volunteers work to do that they enjoy and want to continue. Through the ACE Mentor Program, which offers scholarship support to college students, I saw one young lady receive $1,000 and she just broke down…she was the first one in her entire family to ever attend college. We are following her progress, to support her and mentor her as she builds her life and she is just one example of how we can help youth through volunteering and supporting organizations like the Boys & Girls Clubs.

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