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April 23, 2014

Out to lunch with Boys & Girls Club

By Elizabeth Scussel
C & G Staff Writer

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Out to lunch with Boys & Girls Club
Each year, the Women’s Association for Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan hosts a spring luncheon fundraiser. This year’s event will be held May 6 at the Detroit Athletic Club. Pictured is Mary Torok, of the Boys & Girls Club; Judie Sherman, of the Women’s Association; Maureen D’Avanzo, winner of the Matilda R. Wilson Award; and Jamie Rae Turnbull, of the Women’s Association.

BLOOMFIELD HILLS/DETROIT — Each year, the Boys & Girls Club of Southeastern Michigan provides a home away from home for more than 23,000 children in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Washtenaw counties.

For each student, a yearly membership fee of $50 is collected, which is roughly 10 percent of the actual costs to provide programs and services to that child.

Next month, the Women’s Association for Boys & Girls Club of Southeastern Michigan will help to offset those costs with its annual luncheon fundraiser.

On May 6, the Women’s Association will host its annual Boys & Girls Club Matilda R. Wilson Award Spring Luncheon fundraiser at 11:30 a.m. at the Detroit Athletic Club, 241 Madison Ave. in Detroit.

“All the money we raise goes back into the clubs,” said Kathy Martin, of the Women’s Association. “It’s so rewarding knowing that there is a positive place for kids to go and be safe, learn, play and grow up to be responsible adults in the community. The clubs need our help to continue the outstanding job they do. Now more than ever, they need financial support, and this luncheon will help that cause.”

The Women’s Association consists of 200 local volunteers who support and advance the mission of the Boys & Girls Clubs. They assist in securing resources to provide ongoing educational and cultural opportunities for young people served by the clubs.

The luncheon serves not only as a fundraising event, but it’s also an opportunity to celebrate the Club’s Youth of the Year winner, as well as the winner of the Matilda R. Wilson Award.

Brianna Simmons, of the Wertz Club in Shelby Township, received the title of Boys & Girls Club 2014 Youth of the Year.

“My Boys & Girls Club is a second home to me, and without it, I would not have the friends and confidence I do today. You’re not expected to be perfect, but you are encouraged to be your best,” Simmons said.

Since its inception in 1977, the Matilda R. Wilson award is presented to a woman who has proved to be influential in Southeastern Michigan. This year’s winner is Maureen D’Avanzo, of Bloomfield Hills.

“I was speechless when I found out I had won. It’s such an illustrious group of women who have won before me,” D’Avanzo said.

D’Avanzo has spent nearly a quarter of a century performing philanthropic and community outreach work with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Detroit Institute of Arts, Cranbrook Academy of Art and a number of other organizations.

The luncheon will also include a special performance by select members of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

“The most gratifying thing is seeing the results of our support reflected in the fine young men and women who ‘graduate’ from the club and become productive and responsible citizens in all facets of life,” said Judie Sherman, of the Women’s Association. “I’m looking forward to raising monies for Boys & Girls Club to ensure the continuing existence of these clubs. The need is so great, and the cause is so worthwhile.”

For more information on the luncheon, call Mary Torok at (248) 522-4412 or send an email to mtorok@bgcsm.org. For more information on the Boys & Girls Clubs, visit www.bgcsm.org.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Elizabeth Scussel at escussel@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1037.