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Today’s Kids, Tomorrow’s Stars Nets $2.1M for BGCMP

 16th annual fundraising gala celebrates 13 Club Youth of the Year and honors Renee and Bob Parsons.

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.”


W.V. Teens vie for Youth of the Year

Boys & Girls Clubs members in running for honor

Two teenagers who are members of Boys & Girls Clubs in the West Valley are sharing their stories as they seek the Youth of the Year title for the Metro Phoenix clubs.

The winner, chosen from among 13 candidates representing each of the clubs, will be named March 19 at the annual Today’s Kids, Tomorrow’s Stars gala.

Those competing include Isabel Castillo of Avondale’s Tri-City Thornwood branch and Brianna Inda of Tolleson’s Woodrow C. Scoutten club.

The youths involved in the after-school program were selected by club staffers and members before undergoing a 16-week training course involving team building and presentation skills.

Each will have three minutes at the gala to impress the judges with their story of success despite adversity.

Isabel, 16, of Avondale said she will talk about how she’s worked to build her confidence and self-worth after overcoming depression and bullying.

She said she became involved in the Boys & Girls Clubs 11 years ago when she was struggling with the divorce of her parents, Selicino Castillo and Elanca Martinez.

“With the help of the club, I know I can get through anything,” Isabel said.

A junior at Agua Fria High School in Avondale, Isabel said she goes to the club every day after school and completes her homework, then helps staffers and interacts with other youths taking advantage of gym, art and computer activities.

Evelyn McNeill, the club’s director, said the club serves 220 youths ages 5 to 18 from Avondale, Goodyear and Tolleson.

Isabel has been involved with recruiting more teenagers to the club as well as fundraising and community service projects.

“She’s done an awesome job just being a leader,” said Paul Cervantes, teen specialist at the club. “She is a person little kids can lean on.”

Isabel plans to attend college in New Mexico, where she will study criminology and psychology.


Shoot for the Stars

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix (BGCMP) will host their annual gala March 19 at the Arizona Biltmore. Approximately 1,250 guests will gather for an evening in the Frank Lloyd Wright Ballroom to recognize 13 extraordinary Club teens who are competing for the title of Youth of the Year within the metro Phoenix area.