Our Founders

Colbert Brown and his wife, Lena Brown, have been united in matrimony for an impressive 46 years, a journey they’ve shared alongside their two daughters, Celena and Corretta, and their son, Colburn. Their academic pursuits led them both to earn bachelor’s degrees from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, marking a shared commitment to education from the outset.

Colbert, born on May 7, 1938, in Pawleys Island, SC, dedicated three years of service to his country as a Specialist E-4 in the US Army, embodying the virtues of discipline and commitment from a young age. Lena, born on April 18, 1944, in Laurinburg, NC, brings a history of compassion and dedication to her community, notably through her work at Waccamaw Mental Health from 1986 to 2006. Raised on a farm as the third eldest of seven children, Lena broke barriers as the first African American single female to work at the Myrtle Beach Manor training school, a testament to her pioneering spirit.

The Browns ventured into entrepreneurship with the “Bamboo Club,” a family business that engaged with students from alternative school settings. They identified a recurring pattern of needs within these students in Myrtle Beach and collaborated with the Myrtle Beach High School principal to initiate a transformative project for 15 alternative students, focusing on practical skills such as flooring and roofing. This program, conducted off-campus, marked the beginning of a successful endeavor to engage at-risk youth in meaningful work and education.

Colbert Brown’s vision expanded beyond local successes, leading him to consult with state and national organizations, including a meeting with the state superintendent and the Boys & Girls of America Headquarters in Atlanta, GA. His efforts were instrumental in creating a structured program for at-risk youth, further evidenced by his visit to the Boys & Girls Club of the LowCountry in Beaufort, SC, which served as a model for his aspirations.

The culmination of these efforts was the establishment of the Boys & Girls Club of the Grand Strand, Inc., which, on December 31, 1998, was officially recognized as a member of the Boys & Girls Club of America. This milestone not only solidified the Browns’ legacy in community service but also offered a beacon of hope and opportunity for countless youths in their community.