Big Brothers Big Sisters Hits Grand Slam for Kids

Pitch in for Kids supports life-changing mentoring program

The Feb. 15 lineup for Pitch in for Kids, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona’s annual fundraiser, included Arizona Diamondbacks legend Luis Gonzalez and Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone. More than 550 guests at the event celebrated the power of mentoring. The evening at the JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn began with a cocktail party, during which attendees had an opportunity to purchase mystery boxes, meet Big and Little matches and pose in the photo booth.

Emcee Paul Horton, chief meteorologist of KPHO CBS 5 and BBBSAZ advisory council member, welcomed the crowd and kept the ball rolling. Sheriff Penzone shared how having one caring, committed adult can change a child’s life, and that relationship can positively affect the family, the child’s school and the community.

Laura Capello, BBBSAZ president and CEO, spoke about the organization’s program goals as well as the impact of donors, who make it possible for the agency to match more than 1,500 young people each year with caring, supportive mentors. Capello presented awards to the Volunteer Bigs of the Year, Ray HagerKaitlyn Ruddick and Bill Janiga.

Gonzalez talked about his own mentors, both personal and professional, who have provided guidance and advice. The event concluded with Gonzo inviting all of the Bigs and Littles in the room to join him on stage to lead the crowd in a rousing rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”

Teresa Strunk, BBBSAZ board member, and her husband, Casey, co-chaired the evening, which raised in excess of $210,000. QFR Solutions was the event’s Grand Slam sponsor.


Big Brother Geoff and Little Brother Razzi served as guest emcees

Laura Capello, BBBSAZ president and CEO, with Arizona Diamondbacks legend Luis Gonzalez

Big Sister Angel and Little Sister Maria served as guest emcees

Bigs from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office

Board member April Lane, former board chair Dr. Christine Wilkinson and BBBSAZ President and CEO Laura Capello

Board member Pam Giannonatti with Big Brother of the Year Ray Hager and his Little Brother Evan

Board members Mike Suriano, Jon Bohnert and Fred DuVal with Fred’s Little Brother Skyler

Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone with event co-chair Teresa Strunk

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