'Party' to help Boys and Girls Clubs

"The Party" 2012 fundraiser Friday will feature food, cocktails, entertainment and more.


Not all parties this week involve ghosts and ghouls, but the biggest one in town will offer a real treat for local youth.

"The Party" 2012 seeks to raise at least $500,000 to benefit the six clubhouses operated by Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson.

"This is our biggest event, and it is meant to bring the community together and engage people and expose more people to our cause and our mission, which is to provide funds for operations and support for more than 40 programs at our six clubhouses that serve more than 8,000 at-risk youth," said Lorraine Morgan, vice president of development and communications for Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson.

Proceeds raised at "The Party" not only support programs, but also enable the Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson to maintain a nominal membership fee of $5 per session per student, said Kelly Greene, chairwoman-elect of "The Party" 2013 and a member of the board of directors for the organization.

"Our goal is to reach as many at-risk youth as possible, and most of these kids come from families where $5 is lot of money. It costs us on average between $700 and $1,000 a year to support one child ... multiply that times 8,000 and those are the funds we need to keep our doors open and give kids an environment with positive reinforcement where they can grow and truly discover who they are," Greene said.

The clubhouses are located throughout Tucson to serve young people ages 7 to 17 from disadvantaged economic, social and family circumstances. Members can participate in a wide range of programs in five core areas: character and leadership; education and career development; health and life skills; the arts; and sports and fitness.

Studies have shown that students who attend the Boys & Girls Clubs with regularity have an increased chance of graduating on time and creating plans for their futures, said Morgan.

"A recent Boys & Girls Clubs of America statistic found that 57 percent of alumni surveyed said being a member of the clubs saved their lives. Lots of people think the Boys & Girls Clubs are a fun place to go after school and to play basketball, but this shows they are much more serious than that," Morgan said.

Whether students utilize sports programs, finance classes or homework help, Greene said the ultimate goal is to promote healthy, active, responsible members of society.

"The icing on the cake is that it supports a fabulous cause. No one loses, and 8,000 youth end up winning," said Greene.

If You Go

"The Party" 2012 to benefit Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson.

When: 6 p.m. Friday; 9:30 p.m. live concert by Five for Fighting.

Where: Tucson Convention Center, 260 S. Church Ave.

Cost: $100 per person ($50 tax-deductible).

Festivities include a buffet dinner hosted by Fox Restaurant Concepts; cocktails; entertainment by DJ Blade of My 92.9 and music by the Rillito River Band. The masters of ceremonies for the evening are Johnjay and Rich along with other Clear Channel media personalities.

The silent auction features more than 900 items and a live auction features 12 travel-related packages and the evening concludes with a concert featuring Five for Fighting.

To buy tickets, to make a donation to the silent auction, or for more information, visit www.thepartytucson.com/ or call 573-3533.

Contact Loni Nannini at ninch2@comcast.net