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 Hager, Kaitlyn 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.
PHOTOS COURTESY BIG BROTHERS BIG SISTERS