Club Esteem is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization offering free after-school and summer programs to economically disadvantaged children in grades 1  through 12 who live in the South Melbourne/Palm Bay area of Brevard County, Florida.  Club Esteem provides a safe, caring, and structured environment for children and teens to learn, grow and reach their full potential.


  • Improves students’ academic achievement
  • Improves students’ behavioral and social functioning
  • Increases readiness for post-high school education, training and employment

Club Esteem is situated between two government housing complexes in the economically-disadvantaged Lipscomb Park area of South Melbourne. The census block surrounding Club Esteem has a median family income of $19,000 and unemployment rate of 23%. Of the 175+ youth in our regular, expansion and summer programs, 97% of are from low income homes and 81% are from single-parent households. While our students and their families often face many hardships, Club Esteem maintains a culture of pride and excellence that puts our students on the path to academic and personal success.

  • Club Esteem students’ academic success far exceeds that of economically-disadvantaged students who do not attend Club Esteem:  92% of Club Esteem students are at or above grade level in math; 89% of Club Esteem Students are at or above grade level in reading. 

  • Club Esteem boasts a 100% high school graduation rate.

  • In the past ten years, 91% of Club Esteem graduates have enrolled in college; 9% of graduates have chosen employment, vocational training, or are serving in the Military.

  • All Club Esteem college attendees have received one or more scholarships and are attending outstanding academic institutions such as the University of Florida, Georgia Tech, Florida State University, Florida Institute of Technology, Florida Atlantic University, Florida International University, University of South Florida, Florida A&M, Eastern Florida State College, Clark University, Howard University, and more.

  •  100% of Club Esteem students who enrolled in college have graduated within 4-6 years, compared to a national college graduation rate of 60% for all students and 16% for low income students.
    Source: National Center for Education Statistics.

  • Club Esteem alumni are now employed throughout the US as engineers, computer scientists, business consultants, nurses, policemen, teachers, Psychologists, and more.

Club Esteem Staff

Ellena Little

Executive Director


Martha Fay

Adminstrative Assistant, Volunteer Coodinator & Program Leader

Sherri Moody

Program Leader/Instructor

Robert Green

Grant Writer


akili phillips

Business Development Director


Lee Bartell

South Melbourne Expansion Sites Manager & Program Leader

Heather Walcott

Program Leader/Instructor

Ariel Garcia – “Mr. A”

Program Leader/Instructor

Board of Directors 2020


Kim Deffebach, PhD


Licensed Psychologist

Ryan Maultsby


Specialty Sales Representative, Janssen Inc.


Edward R. Davis III


Retired Vice President & Treasurer, Tupperware Brands Corporation

Board Members

Patrick Culhane

Vice President, Financial Consultant, Private Wealth Management, SunTrust Investment Services, Inc.


Mitch Evander

Chief Intellectual Property Counsel, L3Harris Corporation


Don McGee

Vice President,
McGee-Maust-Welch Wealth Advisors, Merrill Lynch



Product Manager, Alertgy



 Kate Sims

Healthcare Consultant,
Regional Director, Press Ganey


Katherine Stewart

Consultant, Stewart Consulting


David Stills

Chief Information Officer


Michael Welch, CRPC, CRPS

Vice President,
McGee-Maust-Welch Wealth Advisors,
Merrill Lynch



Community Leadership Board 

Valeta Cameron, Esq

Attorney, Brevard Legal Aid

Tiffany Trudeau, LMHC

Licensed Mental Health Counselor 


Our History

Club Esteem was founded in 1991 by Ms. Gladys Williams (pictured above), a grandmother who was alarmed by the challenges facing young people in her South Melbourne neighborhood near Lipscomb Park Community Center. Ms. Williams recognized the difficulty of youth making positive choices while living in a community struggling with crime, drug use, unemployment, teen pregnancy, and elevated school dropout rates. While many may have given up hope, Ms. Williams, her close friend Ms. Dorothy “Dot” Linson, and others believed that the efforts of a few could change the direction of the youth in and around their community. In the spring of 1991, they began a “club” for children guided by Ms. Williams belief that “all youth can achieve success with a solid educational foundation and caring adult relationships.” The youth chose the name “Club Esteem” and defined their goals as staying in school, making good grades, and making positive life choices. From 1991 to 2003 Club Esteem met one night per week at Lipscomb Street Community Center.

In 2002, the Junior League of South Brevard, City of Melbourne, and M.H. Williams Construction joined together to build the Club Esteem Youth and Family Center, a new 4000 sf facility adjacent to the Lipscomb Park Community Center at 3316 Monroe Street in Melbourne, Florida. In 2004, the Club Esteem Youth and Family Center opened and began offering programs and services five days per week including tutoring, mentoring, character education, cultural arts, and more.

From 2004 to the present, Club Esteem’s programs have continued to expand. Club Esteem’s after-school and summer programs currently serve 175+ economically disadvantaged youth and their families five days per week at the Club Esteem Youth and Family Center and at several satellite locations.

Club Esteem will celebrate 30 years of changing the lives of economically disadvantaged youth in 2021!

Community Partners

United Way

As a United Way Partner Agency, Club Esteem is eligible to receive designated gifts via payroll deduction to the United Way of Brevard or any other United Way in the US.  Please contact your employer to designate your payroll deduction donation to benefit Club Esteem.

Community Foundation of Brevard

Create a legacy and change the lives of economically disadvantaged youth by including a gift to Club Esteem in your trust and estate plans. Gifts of cash, annuities, property, stocks, and other assets may be made directly to Club Esteem or may be made to the Club Esteem Endowment Fund at the Community Foundation of Brevard. For more information, please contact Theresa Grimison, Executive Director of the Community Foundation of Brevard at
theresaG@cfbrevard.org or (321) 752-5505.

National Society of Black Engineers

Club Esteem is proud to have established the first National Society of Black Engineers Junior Chapter Site in the US. Club Esteem’s NSBE Pre-College Initiative program helps students develop teamwork, leadership, and academic skills; educates and exposes students to STEM fields and experiences; and encourages students to attend college and pursue STEM degrees.

Department of Children
and Families Access Assistance

Club Esteem is a Department of Children and Families Access Assistance Partner Site and provides assistance to families applying for SNAP, Medicaid, cash assistance, and social security benefits.

Eastern Florida State College

Club Esteem partners with the Eastern Florida State College Service Learning program to provide business leadership opportunities to students wishing to earn college credits.

Florida Division of Vocational
Rehab Worksite and Career Source Brevard Work Based Training Site

Club Esteem serves as a Florida Division of Vocational Rehab Worksite and Career Source Brevard Work Based Training Site by providing on the job training opportunities to community members desiring to enter the workforce.

Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida

Club Esteem partners with the Kid’s Cafe Program of the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida to ensure that economically disadvantaged children receive healthy after-school meals.

United States Department of Agriculture Federal Child Care Food Program

Club Esteem partners with the United States Department of Agriculture Federal Child Care Food Program to ensure that economically school aged children from economically disadvantaged families receive healthy meals during the summer.

GuideStar USA

Club Esteem has been awarded a Gold Seal of Transparency by GuideStar USA, the world’s largest source of information on nonprofit organizations.