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On the Town: Aiming high and thinking big for kids

By David Laurell

5:59 PM EDT, May 14, 2013

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While the goal of playing the board game Monopoly is to acquire and develop as many of a community's transportation and utility companies, properties, houses and hotels as possible, the goal of the Boy & Girls Club is to acquire the needed funding to develop children and young people into productive, responsible and caring members of their community.

Working to acquire that funding was just what the Boys & Girls Club of Burbank and the Greater East Valley did by staging its 18th annual gala fundraiser this past Saturday.

Presented with a Monopoly theme, more than 300 supporters filled the ballroom of the Marriott Hotel for an evening that saw the celebration of individuals and companies that help local kids aim high and think big.

"In order to most effectively serve the youth of our community, we are proud to recognize our three amazing honorees, Burrtec Waste Industries Inc., members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 18, Unit 50, and Karen Volpei of Keller Williams Realty Burbank," said Lenna Matthew, who serves as the club's board president. "We are deeply grateful for the difference they make in the lives of the young people we serve."

Saturday's event, chaired by Jami Rice and hosted by television personality Todd Newton, included a performance by the club's Broadway Competition Dance team who, under the direction of Michelle Bouse, has taken the top award in the National Boys & Girls Club Talent Search Competition for the past three years.

Along with former Burbank mayors Mary Lou Howard, Anja Reinke and Dave Golonski, other notables in attendance at the gala included Shanna Warren, who serves as the club's executive director, staff members Anja Kloch and Brittany Vaughan, longtime club benefactors Dave and Pat Augustine, and club officers and board members Sherine Saad, Michael Walbrecht, Dan Stillwell, Rodney Campbell, Garett Chipman, Michelle Christian, Michael Dragan, Kevin McCarney, Michael Morgan, Sally Knutson, Nicolette Schwartz, Al Shapiro, Lynn White Shelby, Armond Aghakhanian, Ron Davis, Darin Ryburn, Tom Steele, Robin Tarufelli and Emilio Urioste Jr.

Since being established in 1995, the Boys & Girls Club of Burbank and the Greater East Valley has grown to serve more than 1,800 young people ages 6 to 18 on a daily basis.

This represents 10% of Burbank's youth who are provided with social gatherings, mentoring, homework assistance, technology, athletic programs and visual and performing arts opportunities.

For information about supporting this organization, where no child is turned away due to an inability to pay, call (818) 842-9333 or visit http://www.bgcburbank.org.

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DAVID LAURELL may be reached by email at dlaurell@aol.com or (818) 563-1007.