The Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix held its 16th annual Today’s Kids, Tomorrow’s Stars gala at the Arizona Biltmore on March 19. The event was presented by Universal Technical Institute, Inc.
Attendees raised approximately $2.1 million in net proceeds to support after-school and summer programs for 30,000-plus young people in grades K-12 at 13 clubs in Phoenix and the West Valley. Thirteen live auction packages were sold, including two Adele concert ticket packages with Gauthier jewelry for $32,500 each, as well as a Breitling Limited Edition Navitimer 01 Honor Flight watch and gift certificates to Molina Fine Jewelers and Saks Fifth Avenue for $20,000. In addition Buzz Sands, owner of Sands Chevrolet, who has donated a new car every year since the event started 16 years ago, offered the highest bidder the choice of a 2017 Chevy Tahoe or Corvette. The package sold for $70,000.
The evening included a celebration of 13 Club Youth of the Year candidates who have been on a 16-week journey of team building, relationship and leadership development, presentation skills and Toastmasters training. The Warner A. Gabel Branch’s Arianna Williams took home the title of BGCMP Youth of the Year. A victim of bullying, Williams found a second home at the Gabel Branch, where she became part of the Leaders in Training volunteer program and used her love of theater to create a broadcasting club program called Lights, Camera, Teens! Williams, a senior at Mountain Pointe High School, has been accepted into New York University.
“My club recognized how hard I worked academically and in my extracurricular activities,” she says. “Because of that support, I’m able to pursue my dream of going to college to study journalism and theater.”
The event also honored Renee and Bob Parsons of The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation as the Champions of Giving. During the evening, the Parsons generously matched the $411,000 raised from the Sponsor-A-Youth direct support program, allowing BGCMP to maintain its after-school and summer day camp services in the Valley’s most dangerous and deserving neighborhoods. In addition, the Parsons surprised each Youth of the Year with a $20,000 college scholarship.
PHOTOS BY RICK SCUTERI AND JAMES JOHNSON