Gala highlights opportunities for Boys & Girl Club patrons

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 111 views 

ROGERS — “We’re going to set the clock, and here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to raise $20,000 in five minutes,” challenged Joe Grady, honorary chairman of the Boys & Girls Club of Benton County’s 17th annual fundraising gala, held Friday (April 20) at the John Q. Hammons Convention Center in Rogers.
In the amount of time promised, Grady accomplished his mission.

In total, the event deemed the Great Futures Gala brought in more than $99,000 to support the Benton County Boys & Girls Club, said Stephanie Brown, event coordinator for club.

The club operates four facilities offering children ages 6-18 quality after school and summer youth development programs. More than 3,000 children come through clubs’ doors each year for academic support and tutoring, athletic engagement and leadership training programs, among other things.

“For these kids, when the doors open, so does opportunity,” Grady said.

In addition to providing opportunities for children, the club also gives parents a chance to get ahead. When Eva Herrera became the sole provider for her children and had to go back to work, she was comforted to know that her children were in a safe and positive environment while she worked.

“It helped me be able to be at work and know that my kids were at the Boys & Girls Club, getting one-on-one help on their homework from people that cared about them,” Herrera said.

The club’s help extends past after-school care and mentoring.

“It was hard for me to put food on my table, but the Boys & Girls Club stepped up to help,” Herrera said. “When I thought we would not have Christmas, they surprised us with not only Christmas gifts, but winter clothes and even a washer and dryer.”

Nearly 500 people attended the gala. Tickets were $100; $150 for a VIP wine-tasting. After a silent auction and dinner, children from the local clubs came onstage to talk about what they want to be when they grow up. Their “great futures” included everything from being a taxi driver to a doctor.

A live auction included use of the Cox Communications suite for a Northwest Arkansas Naturals game and a five-night stay for 12 in a French chateau. The party carried into the night with dancing to the music of Ultra Suede.