Mike Millares, area sales and operations manager for Bridgestone, hands the keys to a new passenger van to Ashley Martin, Boys and Girls club director for Azalea Middle School’s Great Futures Middle School Academy.

ST. PETERSBURG — The Boys and Girls of the Suncoast received a special delivery last week, as Bridgestone officials donated a passenger van to the Clearwater-based nonprofit organization.

The donation was part of Bridgestone Retail Operations’ Driving Great Futures initiative, a program that has raised more than $15.3 million for Boys and Girls Clubs nationwide since 2015, according to a press release announcing the event.

The B&G Suncoast chapter was one of 12 in the country to receive a grant from Bridgestone to purchase a new passenger van, which will primarily be used at Azalea Middle School to provide transportation to and from the club as well as for field trips, college tours and other activities.

“We are so grateful to Bridgestone and are honored to be selected as a recipient for a new passenger van to help our Club youth and families overcome transportation barriers,” said Freddy Williams, president and chief executive of Boys & Girls Clubs of the Suncoast, during the March 23 ceremony at Azalea. “These vans will not only give kids and teens increased access to outside opportunities that better their future, but will also provide safe and reliable transportation to after-school programming to help them reach their full potential.”

Marko Ibrahim, Bridgestone Retail Operations president, agreed, stating, “After-school activities help young people develop crucial life skills and thrive far into the future. Boys & Girls Clubs of the Suncoast is a pillar in this community, and we look forward to seeing how expanded transportation can make an even greater difference in the lives of Club youth and families.”